Human senses and Mushrooms

Mycology can sometimes be seen as a somewhat obscure, strange, and complex science to ordinary people. I notice it on a daily basis in my entourage and in my contact with the non-scientific public. Mycologists themselves are often seen as “crazy”, seasoned enthusiasts, most of whom devote their entire lives to mycology. The number of times I have found myself facing people who do not understand the science for which I give all of my life and energy. Be careful, these people have every right not to understand, or even not to know the term mycology! Through my experience in scientific mediation/popularization within the Natural History Museum of Toulouse, and all of my associative activities, I noticed that when the public was interested in what I said about mushrooms, it was when I told anecdotes, or when I told them about things they knew. It seems logical after all, you can quickly lose someone when you talk to them for hours about a subject that they do not understand at all! In this case, a subject that everyone knows very well, even so well that they are not even aware they use them : Human senses. Yes, whether you are a mycology buff or just a lambda person not necessarily interested in mushrooms, you know your own senses. It is in this concern of popularization of mycology, especially field mycology, among non-scientists, scientists, non-specialists or specialists, that this idea of ​​an article was born. In this series of articles (only one volume has been published to date), I try to present in a synthetic and accessible way for the greatest number the role of our own senses in the identification of fungi, based on my own experience of field mycologist, as well as valuable advice from other recognized mycologists. This is in fact a series of three articles, respectively dealing with the important and crucial role of Vision and Colours, Taste / Touch and Smell in the identification of mushrooms.

Cazabonne Jonathan. (2021). The use of Human sense in the identification of mushrooms. Field Mycology, 22 (4) : 117 – 122.