Gallery: Natural history museum exhibition teaches visitors about mushrooms

The Estonian Museum of Natural History's 61st annual mushroom exhibition.
The Estonian Museum of Natural History's 61st annual mushroom exhibition. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Last month's rainy weather means it has been an exceptionally good year for mushrooms in Estonia. To the delight of mushroom lovers, the annual mushroom exhibition is now also open at the Museum of Natural History in Tallinn. However, this year in particular, it is definitely worth getting to know which mushrooms are poisonous, as they are also more abundant than usual in Estonia's forests.

The mushroom exhibition is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated events of the year at the Estonian Museum of Natural History, attracting everyone from newly-converted mushroom lovers to experienced pickers. Because people should only pick the mushrooms they know are safe, when they in the forest, the exhibition also has an educational function.

"Just the other day I was in the woods and saw so many mushrooms that I didn't know. So, I decided it was the right time to find out," said Vera, a local mushroom enthusiast.

Although this is the 61st time the exhibition has been held at the museum, every year there are first-time visitors.

"I've been mushroom picking many, many times," said Ott.

"I go every year, but I haven't made it to the exhibition because it usually closes before I get chance to visit it," said Tiia.

And indeed, the mushroom exhibition at the Museum of Natural History lasts for just ten days, ending this year on September 17.

However, according to the museum's director Heidi Jõks, this year is an exceptionally good year for mushrooms, so it's even worth heading into the forest after coming to see the exhibition as no one is likely to return empty-handed.

"It's a very good year for leccinum. This year there is an abundance of penny bun or porcini mushrooms (Boletus edulis) in the forest. If you haven't found this delicious mushroom in the forest before, then this is the year to go looking for it," said Jõks.

However, it is also important to be vigilant, as this year's mushroom-rich forests also contain more poisonous mushrooms than usual.

"For example, white and green amanita. So, for people who still tend to confuse these mushrooms a bit, now is definitely the right time to come to the Museum of Natural History Museum, take a look at them and remember which they are," Jõks explained.

While an Estonian will never reveal the patch of forest where they pick their own mushrooms, it is worth noting that the biggest harvests this year will be in the southern Estonia regions of Võru County, Valga County and Põlva County, as well as in Lahemaa, northern Estonia.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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