ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland
|PRODUCTS | PRODUCTS DIRECTORY | SPECIES DIRECTORY | RECIPES|
Wild mushrooms in Scotland
There are literally dozens of species of edible wild mushrooms in the Scottish woods but only a few are commonly eaten. Given the frightening toxicity of some species (e.g. fly agaric), our reluctance to gather unfamiliar fungi is a sensible precaution. Nevertheless, it does not take much to learn the most common edible species and the ones to steer clear of.
Tips for would-be mushroom pickers
Common edible fungi - Click on the image
When to gather
Autumn is the most productive time for edible mushrooms, but there are always some species available in woodlands.
Commercial mushroom harvesting
At least four mushroom buyers now operate in Scotland, with an average total annual turnover of over £250,000 in Scottish wild mushrooms. The self-employed pickers' earnings are comparatively small, but it is occasionally possible to gather as much as £1000 worth of wild mushrooms in a single day.
Most businesses focus on only a few mushroom species such as chanterelle, cep, hedgehog fungus, saffron milkcap, chicken of the woods, St Georges mushroom and wood blewitt. The mushrooms are sold to British restaurants and hotels, or exported to France, Holland, Germany, USA and Canada.
Scottish wild mushrooms are so good that some visitors come to Scotland just to gather them - you may meet Italians travelling to Aberdeenshire in search of porcini to collect and dry for themselves and their families.
More on mushrooms
Scottish Fungi, an information hub for both beginner and established mycologists who are interested in Scottish fungi.
Scottish Natural Heritage's online publication Naturally Scottish - Fungi provides detailed information about Scotland's fungi.
Visit the recipes page for some interesting NTFP cooking ideas.