Mushroom Hunting


Fairies dance under toadstool or at least that’s what I learned as a child. I’ve never seen a fairy and the Bible doesn’t mention them, so I am not positive that they exist. In fact, the Bible doesn’t even mention toadstools or mushrooms; yet, present day Israelis are wild about mushrooms. Here’s what I learned about one kibbutz that is mushroom crazy:

Every child in Kibbutz Beit Keshet, in the Lower Galilee, knows not to pick mushrooms with a circle around the stalk. The ring indicates that the mushroom is poisonous. One of the first rules in mushroom-collecting is to know when to focus on a small number of mushrooms. You learn to recognize one or two varieties well enough to distinguish between them the way you distinguish between tomatoes and cucumbers. You must be completely certain that you’re not picking poisonous mushrooms.

It’s not only at this tranquil kibbutz that mushroom-gathering is part of the local culture – many people do it, and the past several years have seen several organized mushroom tours in Israel. The tours, run by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, teach participants where to find mushrooms and how to distinguish among the different varieties, among other things. Israel has over 400 species of mushrooms.

Mushroom hunting constitutes a kind of longing for a journey to the center of a foggy, dewy European forest, or in my mind, the damp forests of Pennsylvania. Dad was a mushroom hunter. Often after church we kids would go mushroom hunting with him. It seems like we always found some and Mom would fry them in butter; we didn’t know the word “sauté.” We mainly found mushrooms in the Morchella species.

This particular mushroom has a very fancy name–Morchella deliciosa esculenta. The species grows as a creamy yellow or gray brown.

Reflection: I hope that children of this generation never lose the opportunity to go mushroom hunting with their Dad.

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at

Copyright January 25, 2015; Carolyn A. Roth


2 responses to “Mushroom Hunting

  1. Where is the ring–on the ground or on the mushroom?

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