Prospekt Flora, Intresting facts

Photo 1. The fruiting bodies of the unusual and easy to recognize “winter” fungus of the ruby elfcup group (Sarcoscypha coccinea agg.) growing on moss-covered, decaying twigs on the ground. Photo taken on 23 February 2016 in the forests of Krk Island. (Photo by Stjepan Janeković)


 At a recent gathering of tourism workers and tourist guides, a discussion ensued concerning the reasons for the numerous fungal species on Košljun Islet. After the gathering ended, one of its participants, the photographer and “Priroda” collaborator Stjepan Janeković, sent us some captivating photos of a rare “winter” fungus. Could the fungi of Krk Island be interesting to tourists?


 There are estimated to be over 1.5 million species of fungi growing in a variety of habitats around the world. Up to date, only about 5% to 10% of these species have been recognized and described as separate species. However, we know somewhat about the way of life, ecology, edibility, and medicinal and other properties of only a small portion of the relatively meagre number of  described species. 

It has been claimed that the number of fungi in any given area exceeds the number of plants many times over. The appearance of fungi mostly depends on climate factors but also on the diversity of plants, trees and shrubs in particular. A large group of fungi species are symbiotically tied to plant roots. In mycology and biology, this is known as mycorrhiza. Another group of fungi grow on dead and decaying trees, shrubs, fallen leaves and other dead plant and (occasionally) animal parts, as well as on some other substrates. The third and least popular group consists of fungal species that live parasitically on other living organisms, weakening them in the process and causing diseases.  

Friar Berard Barčić, known for his research of fungi on Košljun Islet, discovered 151 fungal species on the islet, which justifiably prompted him to name Košljun “the islet of fungi”. In comparison, the current list of known fungal species on Krk island contains over 500 different taxa (species and varieties)*, while the list of known fungi in the County of Primorje and Gorski Kotar numbers around 1200 species for now**.

We believe so great a diversity of fungi could attract the attention of visitors to the County, Krk the Golden Island and Košljun Islet, which  are exceptionally rich in fungi, as the above numbers demonstrate. Considering the rather broad circle of people fascinated by, and very interested in, the mysterious world of fungi, we ask ourselves: Wouldn’t it be possible to present this abundance of fungi to the visitors and tourists of the Golden Island?

To end this report, here are two examples of interesting fungi of Krk and Košljun. The first is the ruby elfcup (Photo 1) with its bright red, cup-like fruiting bodies. This fungus comes out in winter and early spring. The second is the burgundydrop bonnet (Photo 2) which exudes a blood-like liquid from its cut flesh. Couldn’t interesting stories be told of these and other numerous fungi?


*According to the list of fungi of Krk Island compiled by the Slovenian mycologist Dušan Vrščaj and published in 2002 in the journal Gljivarski Glasnik of the Mycological Association “Ožujka” of Rijeka.

**Data received from Milan Frank, a prominent member of the Mycological Association “Ožujka” of Rijeka. This number has not been mentioned previously in any publication and we hope that a complete list of fungal species of the County of Primorje and Gorski Kotar will soon see the light of day.

Category: interesting facts about Nature, fungi, Nature in tourism

Keywords: fungi as a tourist attraction, ruby elfcup (Sarcoscypha coccinea agg.), Krk Island, Košljun Islet, Friar Berard Barčić

Link to related topic on the Web pages of „Priroda“: KOD JEZERA NA OTOKU KRKU PRONAĐENA GLJIVA PLAMENONOGA KOPRENKA http://www.ju-priroda.hr/novosti.asp?id=novosti/92-gljive.html


Marko Randić and Stjepan Janeković

Photo 2. In autumn, the fruiting bodies of burgundydrop bonnets (Mycena hematopus) grow on decaying, fallen branches of holm oak trees in the protected forest reserve of Košljun Islet. (Photo by Marko Randić)