Trestan's Chorus

Trestan's Chorus

I thought I was hallucinating. Mushrooms - growing in abundance in the dead of winter! Lord Trestan was looking out for me that night, I tell you.
— An almost-unlucky traveller
  The middle of winter is generally not the ideal time to hunt for mushrooms, but Trestan's chorus is one of the rare exceptions. Endemic to the forests on the slopes of the Teeth, these unassuming but tasty mushrooms have saved the life of many a stranded traveller.   They are named for Trestan, the Lord of Ice, as it is believed the mushroom is a gift from him to the people of Kaien and Serukis to help those near the mountains survive through the bitter winter.  

Anatomy

Cap

The cap of Trestan's chorus can grow up to 10cm in diameter, but can be as small as 2cm. It is convex in shape, though its generally circular edges may be warped by their proximity to other mushrooms in its cluster. Younger mushrooms start off white in colour, and darken to a soft caramel brown as they mature. It is not uncommon for the cap to gradiate in colour, darker at the tip and paler around the edges.  

Gills

The gills of this mushroom are adnexed, meaning that that only a small part of the overall gill depth is attached to the stem. They are white to pale cream and closely spaced.  

Stem

The stem is thin, but tough. It starts off white when the mushroom is young, but darkens with age.

Flesh

The flesh of Trestan's chorus is quite firm, yet gently slippery when cooked. It has a mildly sweet smell that is stronger in older specimens, and a sweet, mealy flavour. Younger mushrooms are much sweeter and firmer, lacking the slipperiness of the mature fruit body.    

Habitat

Trestan's chorus grows on dead pine wood on the slopes of the Teeth, where the trees are regularly covered with snow and ice. Unlike many other mushrooms, it can survive being frozen solid - in fact, it relies on the thawing process as a signal to release its spores. This means it is often abundant when other food is scarce, making it a vital part of the mountain ecosystem.   Attempts to cultivate this Trestan's chorus elsewhere have been relatively unsuccessful. It was thought to be quite a hardy mushroom, due to its survival in frigid weather, but it turned out to be rather fussy. It will only grow on the dead wood of the Caian mountain pine. Any other wood - even other species of pine - and it either does not grow at all, or grows weedy and unappetising.


Cover image: by Landon Parenteau

Comments

Author's Notes

Trestan's chorus is based on the real life velvet shank mushroom, which can also survive being frozen solid. I think that's pretty cool! :) You might know velvet shanks as enoki (enokitake, 榎茸) mushrooms, which are genetically identical - however, the cultivation method of enoki mushrooms makes them look dramatically different than their wild counterparts!


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Jul 15, 2021 23:56 by Stormbril

Such adorable, fussy, and hardy shrooms :D I love their physical description, and they sound pretty dang tasty!   It's super fascinating that the thaw cycle is what prompts them to release spores! On warmer than average years, where things might freeze and thaw more often, are there mushroom outbreaks where suddenly they're growing in mass quantities?

Jul 16, 2021 00:02 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Oo, probably! That's something to think about when I come back to this article, for sure. :) Thank you!

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 15, 2021 23:57 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

A lovely fussy little mushroom! :D I like how you're presenting its biology. Makes me want to taste it now :p

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Jul 16, 2021 00:03 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you! I love mushrooms so muuuch. <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 16, 2021 07:12 by Olarae & Astaroth Arcaine

Really nice read, I love a good mushroom! The whole article makes it believable that such a mushroom could actually exist in the wild, a god save for any stranded traveller in the midst of winter!

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Jul 16, 2021 10:14 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you! :D <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 16, 2021 18:15 by Time Bender

Aw the mushrooms are cute! I would definitely eat them. And I've never heard of the mushroom they're based off of, that's really cool though! :)

May 30, 2022 09:24 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Ah, I completely missed this! Thank you so much!

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
May 30, 2022 01:57

I really like the name of these mushrooms :)

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May 30, 2022 09:25 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you! :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
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