The first question about mushrooms that I often get, is “Where to go to find the mushrooms?” My answer is always the same: Go to a forest. And I mean, any forest. I have not yet found a Finnish forest without mushrooms!
But if you are looking for a certain specific mushroom, then it’s good to know in which type of forest that mushroom likes to grow, and how do they get their nutrition. Mushrooms get their nutrition mainly in 3 different ways:
- Some live in symbiosis with a tree.
- Some are parasites that live from a live tree, eventually killing it.
- Some are wood rotting mushrooms.
For example, the delicious Boletus edulis (herkkutatti) lives in symbiosis with a tree, but its lookalike, the bad tasting Tylopilus felleus (sappitatti) is wood rotting. So if you see from a distance boletus mushroom on top of on warren, don’t bother to run to it.. It’ll be the bitter tasting Tylopilus felleus (sappitatti), rotting the fir needles in the warren.
A great mnemonic for Tylopilus felleus (sappitatti) is a ”blushing lady in black fishnet stocking”. The delicious Boletus edulis (herkkutatti) has a white net pattern on its stem, where as Tylopilus felleus (sappitatti) has a dark net pattern. Boletus edulis (herkkutatti) pores are first white and then they change to yellow or yellow-green, whereas Tylopilus felleus (sappitatti) pores change to pink. Therefore the blushing lady image will help you to remember which boletus to leave untouched.
The Finnish name for Boletus edulis, ’herkkutatti’, means delicious, and the Finnish name for Tylopilus felleus, ’sappitatti’, means bile, which is very descriptive of the bad taste of the mushroom.
If you learn the Finnish names for the mushrooms, many of them will also help you to identify which type of trees to look for. For example ’männynherkkutatti’, the word ’mänty’ means ’pine’. So it’s a clear hint that this mushroom can be found nearby pine trees. There are some trick names though, one of them being ’leppärousku’. The word ’leppä’ refers to ’alder’. But for that mushroom it’s not referring to the habitat of the mushroom, but the color of the flesh of the stem and cap, which resembles the orange color of the fresh cut alder wood. Therefore ’leppärousku’ has actually 2 longer names: ‘männynleppärousku’ which literally means pine alder, and ‘kuusenleppärousku’ which means spruce alder. Also another trick name is ’haaparousku’, where ‘haapa’ refers to ’aspen’. Here too, the name refers to the grayish color of the mushroom’s cap which resembles color of aspen’s trunk, rather than the habitat, because ’haaparousku’ actually lives in spruce forests.
Here are some examples of mushrooms based on their habitat:
Boletus pinophilus (Männynherkkutatti)
Suillus variegatus (Kangastatti)
Suillus luteus (Voitatti)
Suillus bovinus (Nummitatti)
Leccinum vulpinum (Männynpunikkitatti)
Russula decolorans (Kangashapero)
Russula paludosa (Isohapero)
Lactarius rufus (Kangasrousku)
Lactarius deliciosus (Männynleppärousku)
Cortinarius caperatus (Kehnäsieni)
Boletus edulis (Herkkutatti)
Xerocomus badius (Ruskotatti)
Russula vinosa (Viinihapero)
Russula vesca (Palterohapero)
Lactarius trivialis (Haaparousku)
Lactarius deterrimus (Kuusenleppärousku)
Gomphidius glutinosus (Limanuljaska)
Cantharellus tubaeformis (Suppilovahvero)
Albatrellus ovinus (Lampaankääpä)
Birch and alder forests
Leccinum versipelle (Koivunpunikkitatti)
Leccinum scabrum coll. (Lehmäntatti)
Leccinum variicolor (Nokitatti)
Russula claroflava (Keltahapero)
Lactarius torminosus (Karvarousku)
Cantharellus cibarius (Keltavahvero, kantarelli)
The good thing about learning mushrooms is, that the more different mushrooms you learn to identify, the more mushrooms you will also find!