Fruits of the Forest
Mountainous and remote, the Yunnan Province has been spared some of the human and environmental pressures that have wiped out native mushroom species in other places. It is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, home to some 700 endemic flowering plant species; 40 percent of China’s medicinal herbs; animals ranging from China’s last herd of Asian elephants to wild Tibetan yaks; and more than 800 varieties of edible mushroom, of which the following represent only the tiniest sample. Many of these grow in forests in North America as well; if there is a forager at your local farmers’ market, you might come across them. Others can be found in dried form in Asian grocery stores.