SAITAMA -- White mushrooms growing in giant clusters measuring at least 1.5 meters in diameter, recently found in a wooded area in the Saitama Prefecture city of Sakado, are drawing attention.
After studying the mushrooms, Saitama Prefectural Government's Yorii Forestry Promotion Office identified them as a species of shimeji mushrooms found in Asia and Africa as well as the Kyushu region in southwest Japan and the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa. It is said that Tricholoma giganteum Massee, or niohshimeji in Japanese, are rarely found in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
Farmer Yoshiatsu Mizumura, 73, found the mushrooms in a wooded area that he owns. A cluster consists of about 50 mushrooms with an approximately 30-centimeter stalk and a cap measuring some 50 centimeters in diameter.
According to Mizumura, he spotted two clumps of the same mushrooms two years ago, but this time found nine clusters, each of them large in size. He says the mushrooms appeared from the ground around Aug. 20 and gradually grew bigger.
The 73-year-old commented, "I heard they (niohshimeji) are found in places with warm climates so I thought they grew in Sakado due to the effects of global warming."
(Japanese original by Takashi Nakamura, Saitama Nishi Bureau)