Monsoon Mushrooms: Two-Wheeled Adventures in Northern Thailand - Part I
In August I motorbiked and mushroom hunted around Chiang Dao, Pai, and Chiang Mai. This is what I found.
NOTE: I haven't written in a while because of frequent forays and a busy schedule. Since being back in Kuala Lumpur, I've gone out almost daily, finding all sorts of cool mushrooms that I can't wait to share. It hasn't rained here for the past few days (which is weird), so I'll start chipping away at the backlog. I aim to get more posts out soon!
After a blistering two months in Texas, the rainy season in Southeast Asia was a welcome respite. I felt revived, like a houseplant that had finally been watered, as I ventured into the lush growth of Northern Thailand.
The journey from Austin to Chiang Mai was long, but renting a motorbike and zipping around felt like a homecoming.
There's so much to share from this adventure, so stay tuned for a series of three posts, starting with the fungi finds of Chiang Dao and Mae Taeng (points B and C on the map below).
Chiang Dao is home to expansive limestone caves that invite casual exploration. And while interesting, it was more impressive to explore the caves aboveground and witness what the rains had mustered up.
During this trip, I noticed many locals foraging in the hills, either with baskets on their backs filled with mushrooms or carrying handfuls of Termitomyces.
A man showed me his haul and pointed in a general direction where they all were growing. I think he got all the good ones because I only found a few smaller ones.
Following his direction, I went off into the bush, but before I could get any further, I noticed bright red anthers sticking up from the dark foliage.
This fungus is on a singular mission: hunting stinkbugs, pests infamous for ravaging agriculture and forestry worldwide. Found predominantly in Korea, it distinguishes itself by its selective predation on Hemipterans and its unique appearance.
Thailand houses a spectacular variety of cordyceps, each bearing different characteristics. During my exploration, I stumbled upon a striking yellow variant growing from the abdomen of a green queen ant.
Complex Ophiocordyceps myrmecophila
For more cordyceps-related stuff, check out a previous post:
Fungi Finds: Gallery
I mainly stuck to this one area outside the caves because I kept getting distracted by other mushrooms. This is what I came across:
These were some of my favorite finds from Chiang Dao, but as I ventured more into Pai and went to the Mai Yen waterfalls and Mae Sa down to the Monk's Trail outside Chiang Mai, my mind kept getting even more blown. I'm currently working with limited tech — a broken laptop screen and not much hard drive space. But I've saved a bunch of videos that I'm excited to share in my next few posts.
Thanks for reading Myconeer! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.