York County Mushrooms

Definition essay for Writing in Professional Cultures class

York County Mushrooms

Mushroom- Any of various fleshy fungi including toadstools, puffballs, coral fungi, morels, etc.  The reproductive part (fruit body) of the fungus organism develops and distributes the spores.  Dating back to 1440, the origin of the word is believed to be French and the surname of John Mussheron, from 1327.

Mushrooms are referred to as the “meat of the vegetable world” and are primarily used in cooking.  Purchasing commercial mushrooms for consumption would be the safest way
to enjoy their nutritional value.  There are only a small number of deadly mushroom species, but several species may cause toxicity to humans if cooked improperly and consumed.

Historically, mushroom extract has been used for medicinal purposes including cancer therapy.  Psychoactive mushrooms have been used in native traditions for mental
and physical healing and to induce visionary states.  This type of mushroom is commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms” and is available in many parts of the world, both legally
and on the black market.

Mushrooms can also be used to dye natural fibers, though that practice has been replaced by synthetic dyes.  Dried mushrooms can be used to start a fire.  Scientists have used mushrooms to create completely biodegradable packaging (replacing petroleum based products) and as a filtration process to lower the bacteria level in contaminated water.


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