Attention Reishi Appreciators: Local Mushroom Medicine Endangered by Invasive Insect Species
It’s with heavy hearts that we have to report that the Eastern Hemlock, home plant of our cherished Hemlock Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma tsugae), has been officially observed as infected by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in at least 5 counties in southern Nova Scotia.
We have been keeping our eyes on the spread of this insect throughout the Northeast Coastal forests, and consider it part of our mission to keep people in the loop about the vulnerability of our local medicine stands.
Due to the work by MTRI to educate the communities affected by this pest, which has been ravaging Hemlock groves throughout the Appalachian range for the last 25 years, we have felt it prudent to stay out of those stands where a great deal of our local reishi is found during the time of year when it is appropriate to be seeking and wildcrafting this important medicine.
We have been informed that the Bear River area is rife with this invasive species, which has devastating consequences for hemlocks (killing trees and multiplying at an extremely high rate), while some areas including Keji have yet to report sightings. Being that humans, their companion animals, and vehicles can be vectors for the HWA, our hearts cannot bear the weight of potentially contributing to the spread of such a damaging insect. As such, our supply of locally wildcrafted hemlock reishi may be interrupted.
Reishi is an extremely useful mushroom, and there are species types non-native to the region which will grow on trees other than Eastern Hemlock. While it continues to be part of our mission to highlight and demonstrate the power of local medicine, we cannot possibly consider the idea that it is a “good thing” there are more dead trees in which the reishi may grow due to such a serious environmental imbalance.
If you already using hemlock reishi growing on trees in your woodlot or local area, we do still encourage its use as part of your holistic health practice: however, please do educate yourself on how to identify the HWA and consider your movement through hemlock stands during the months of March-July, when the insects are mobile and can be easily transmitted.
Here at Fundy Spores, we are now looking to cultivate reishi in order to continue offering our popular reishi tinctures; be assured we will always be honest and up front about the source of our mushrooms, and will continue to refuse to buy and resell products made from mushrooms found/grown in and imported from other places. **
For more information on the HWA, attend an MTRI info session in your area and/or check out these links:
Tuesday, February 27th: North Queens Business Hub, Caledonia.
Wednesday, March 7th: New Germany Community Hall, New Germany.
Monday, March 12th: Brickton Community Hall, Brickton.
Thursday, March 21st: Bridgewater Legion, Bridgewater.
Mark Whitmore, an American entomologist (Cornell University) at the forefront of HWA research, is offering a free webinar about this species on March 8 at 12 noon AST: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/eabu.php
** If you have observed the HWA in your woodlot or live in a known affected area, and are also aware of hemlock reishi growing there, we might be interested in negotiating a sustainable wildcrafting visit to your woods. Please contact us if you’re interested in working out this kind of arrangement!