Once autumn gets underway, Catalonia’s wild mushroom season is not far behind. Yet, it looks like many boletaires, as those brave souls who venture into the woods in search of edible fungi are called in Catalan, will have their work cut out this year. Wild mushrooms can be hard enough to find as it is, and only certain species can actually be eaten, but to add to the difficulty there now seem to be fewer mushrooms around than ever before due to the effects of global warming.
Mushrooms need two conditions to flourish: humidity and mild – though not too warm – temperatures. However, a 20-year study by Lleida University suggests that the recent dry, warm autumns are having a detrimental effect on the country’s wild mushroom population. Some species, such as the ever popular rovelló (saffron milkcap) have been particularly hard hit, although the longer, warmer autumns also mean that other species, such as the fredolic (grey knight) have benefited from the delay in the onset of colder weather.
While mushroom hunters have accepted that 2019 is going to be a light year, the hope is that the heavy rains the country experienced at the end of October might give the season a boost before the winter sets in. Whatever the case, there’s not a moment to lose, so grab your walking stick and your basket and get into the woods before all the bolets have been snapped up.