Tikri Reserved Forest of Eastern Uttar Pradesh situated in Tarabganj sub-division of Gonda district (U.P.) lying at 26°20′06″N latitude and on 82°15′40″E longitude. It is spread over an area of 70 km2 which is characterized by typical terai landscape. This area is very rich in vegetation with Sal (Shorea robusta) and Teak forests (Tectona grandis) as the main tree species. It also harbours a rich diversity of economical and medicinal plant species, mainly confined to the peripheral region of the forest. Along with affluent flora, the reserve forest is also endowed with many mammalian fauna. To explore the mushroom flora of this Forest, various field surveys were conducted during the monsoon period of the years 2016 – 2019, in which a total of fifty three mushroom species belonging to thirty seven genera were collected and identified from different localities of the reserved forest so far (Table.1, Plate.1).
In the field, mature and well developed fruit bodies are being collected carefully. The macroscopic features of the fruiting bodies (e.g. shape, size and colour of sporophore) were noted in the field while the microscopic features (e.g. spore shape) were noted in laboratory. Various ecological parameters have also been recorded along with other field data such as habit, habitat etc. Well developed fruit bodies have been photographed. The collections were then wrapped in waxed paper and brought to the laboratory for further study. The morphotaxonomic features of Arora (1986), Singer (1986) and www.mushroomexpert.com were mainly followed.
The majority of the species were saprophytic in nature, while parasitic and symbiotic were also recorded. Among them Termitomyces globulus, T. heimii, T. microcapus, Russula delica. R. nobilis, R. senecis, Marasmius haematocephalus, M. siccus and Xylaria sp. were frequent mushroom species while Amanita sp., Auriculariasp., Calvatia sp., Coprinus comatus, C. cinereus, Daldinia concentrica, Dacryopinax sp.,Ganoderma applanatum, G. lucidum, Geastrum saccatum, Laccaria sp., Lepiota sp., Lentinus sp., Leucoagaricus sp., Leucocoprinus medioflavus, L. cepaestipes ,L. cretaceous, Lycoperdon sp., Mutinus caninus, Mycena sp., Panaeolus sp., Phallus indusiatus, Podoscypha petalodes, Ramaria sp., Scleroderma sp., Schizophyllum commune, Tricholoma giganteum, Volvariella bombycina, V. volvacea, Tulostoma brumale were occasionally found. Boletus sp. and Pleurotus cystidiosus were rarely found. These species were recorded during the year 2016-2018 (Siddhant et al., 2019 a). In the early monsoon of the year 2019, three new mushroom species viz., Astraeus hygrometricus, Conocybe sp., Chantharellussubalbidus were collected from the selective localities of the reserved forest (Siddhant et al., 2019 b) while in the late monsoon, a total of nine mushroom species viz., Chlorophyllum brunneum, Laccaria fraternal, Macrolepiota procera, Marasmius curreyi, M. epiphyllus, Parasola plicatilis, Termitomyces fuliginosus, Volvariella pusilla and Xylaria polymorpha have been identified on the basis of their taxonomical characters. The mushroom species were greater in number in the month of August and September during 2016-2019 while lesser number of species were noticed in the month of July. The greater relative humidity, more rain fall and moderate temperature range probably accounted for more fructification and hence appearance of greater number of species in those months. Agaricales were predominant order comprised 13 families followed by Polyporales and Bolatales which consisted 3 families each. Auriculariales, Cantharellales, Dacrymycetales, Geastrales, Gomphales, Phallales, Russulales and Xylariales comprising of one family each. Most of the genera belonged to order Agaricales (84%) followed by Polyporales and Bolatales (12% each) and Phallales and Xylariales (8% each). The least gerena were recorded for the order Auriculariales, Cantharellales, Dacrymycetales, Geastrales, Russulales and Gomphales (4% each). Amongst different families of Agaricales, Agaricaceae consisted higher number of Genera (9) followed by Bolbitiaceae with two genera. Rest of the families viz., Amanitaceae, Hydnangiaceae, Lyophyllaceae, Marasmiaceae, Mycenaceae, Pleurotaceae, Psathyrellaceae, Schizophyllaceae and Tricholomataceae contained one genera each. The species, recorded during observation were found growing on different types of substrates. These were grouped into: (a) Species growing on soil or humus, (b) Species growing on wood, (c) Species growing on partially decomposed leaf litter, (d) Species growing in and around termite nests, and (e) Species growing on dung. Greater number of species was recorded from the soil (23) followed by wood (17), partially decomposed leaf litter (8) and termite nest (4). The dung harboured a single mushroom species. Few mushroom species such as Leucocoprinus medioflavus and Volvariella volvaceashowed duel habitat. They were found on both wood and the soil. Amongst species growing in association of different types of substrates, the Agaricales were recorded from all the substrate types. In contrast, Cantharellales, Phallales and Russulales were recorded only from the soil. The Auriculariales, Dacrymycetales, Gomphales and Polyporales, on other hand, were recorded only from the wood substrate. On the basis of utility of species in different forms these were grouped into: (a) Edible, (b) Inedible, (c) Medicinal, (d) Worthless and (e) Poisonous. Indigenous characterization of wild mushrooms has revealed only 06 mushroom species viz., Termitomyces globules, T. heimii, T. microcarpus, T. fuliginosus, Macrolepiota procera and Astraeus hygrometricus which were used by locals as food purposes. Some of them (Astraeus hygrometricus, Termitomyces heimii and Macrolepiota procera) were also being sold in local market as a source of income (Fig.1).