The damp shady woods of the Big Thicket provide ideal habitat for fungi. Researchers have identified 660 species of mushrooms in the preserve, including several species that were previously unknown to science. In addition to serving as decomposers, many soil fungi have symbiotic relationships with trees, where they transport nutrients and water into tree roots in exchange for receiving sugars from the trees. Most soil fungi are invisible to our eyes until they produce mushrooms, the familiar growths that emerge quickly and exist only long enough to release spores. You may also see hard bracket fungi growing on dead trees. Also known as shelf fungi or conks, these durable decomposers can last for months or even years.
Fungi can be found in every ecosystem at any time of year, particularly after wet weather. The Kirby Nature Trail and Turkey Creek Trail are usually good places to see mushrooms in the fall.
Last updated: May 22, 2020