Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Enigmatic "Tainga ng Daga" (Auricularia Mushroom)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Native Auricularia species. Note white spores and velvety external surface. Stem is very short, almost unrecognizable.

Cultured Auricularia may grow extensively, the thalli converging into one fleshy mass. Mushroom Burger, Tagaytay City.

Dried up specimen from natural habitat such as dead tree. Spores have been disseminated and the remaining ones wait for the next growing season, usually during the rainy season. Surprisingly the dried thalli (fleshy biomass) become rehydrated and continue to function biologically, which is one of the mysteries of life. When is a living thing considered dead? Can a dead organism resurrect to life? What is the true meaning of aestivation? To what extent can an organism remain dormant?

Tainga ng daga is the popular name of this favorite mushroom which makes chopsuey truly a complete recipe. It belongs to Class Phragmobasidiomycetes, Order Auriculares, Family Auriculiaceae. Although it belongs to the class of mushrooms, it has deviated from the mushroom's typical structure. Its general shape is thin, lobed and veined like an ear, hence its name. This mushroom is sold fresh or dehydrated. Dehydrated Auricularia is first soaked in water before it is cooked with other ingredients of chopsuey. ~

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