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Identifying wild mushrooms and foraging for fungi in Tenerife

Updated on October 9, 2013

Wild mushrooms found in Tenerife

You might not expect to find that Tenerife was a good place for wild mushrooms and other fungi, however, in the autumn and winter months after the rains, lots of types grow on the island especially in the damp woodlands of the north.

Tenerife actually has several edible mushrooms with the Cep or Edible Boletus (Boletus edulis ) being one of the best and the easiest to identify.

Tenerife wild mushrooms

Jew's Ear
Jew's Ear
Laurel Fungus (Exobasidium lauri)
Laurel Fungus (Exobasidium lauri)

The Edible Boletus and other species

The Cep is found growing under pines and sweet chestnuts and they are often collected by people who forage for wild mushrooms. Some local restaurants in areas where it grows include Edible Boletus on the menu.

The Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris) is the ordinary mushroom we all know, and in autumn and winter it can be found in Tenerife. It mainly grows in grassy places and at the sides of paths. Besides Tenerife it is also found on the Canary Islands of Lanzarote, La Gomera, Gran Canaria and El Hierro.

The peculiar Jew’s Ear Fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) is aptly named and resembles an ear and is a fleshy pink. It grows on dead tree trunks in Canary Islands woodlands. The Jew’s Ear fungus is thought of as a delicacy in Chinese and Asian cookery and is often sold in delicatessens.

The yellowish-coloured and funnel-shaped Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is another edible wild-mushroom that is found on Tenerife. It grows on forest floors after the autumn and winter storms.

When collecting wild mushrooms you really need to be sure you can identify species correctly, so it is best to seek the advice of an expert on the subject if you can and to make sure you have a good book about fungi and wild foods.

There are also a lot of poisonous toadstools that grow in Tenerife and the Canary Islands.

The unmistakeable Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) that is a favourite in fairy-tale books, and has a red cap spotted with white is one of the toxic species. Substances in this well-known toadstool make it hallucinogenic. It isn’t common but sometimes grows in the pine forests of Tenerife.

A very rare and specialised endemic fungus with the scientific name Exobasidium lauri is a parasite of laurel trees. It looks a bit like the antlers of a stag and this weird fungus grows on the trunks of trees in the “laurisilva” forests in Tenerife’s north where it parasitizes the Canarian Laurel (Laurus novocanariensis).


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