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- Climate changes like high temperatures, early onset of springs, reduced rainfall, and erratic weather patterns are resulting in a low yield of Gucchi mushrooms of Kashmir.
- It is the second year in a row when the yield of these mushrooms is adversely affected.
- It is causing a distress situation for gucchi mushroom pickers and hunters.
- This mushroom is also known as morel.
- From 2,000 quintals in 1991 its production is reduced to 45 quintals in 2021 due to climate change, habitat destruction and deforestation.
- It is also known by its scientific name Morchella esculenta.
- It is species of fungus which belongs to the Morchellaceae family of the Ascomycota division.
- Spongy and honeycombed in their appearance, they can vary in color from blonde to dark black.
- It has a nutty, earthy and savoury flavour hence valued by foodies and professional chefs alike.
- Considered India’s costliest mushrooms, these can cost upto Rs 40,000 a kg as these are very difficult to find, blend perfectly with their surroundings and have short growing season.
- It has been given a GI tag in year 2021.
- These mushrooms cannot be cultivated commercially.
Ideal conditions to sprout
- Day time temperature of 15 to 20 degrees Celsius in the Himalayas foothills
- Night time temperatures of 5 to 9 degrees celsius.
- Mostly grown in clusters on southerly slopes and sunny areas and on logs of decaying wood, leaves or humus soil.
- Thunder and rain to help these mushrooms in sprouting.
- Soil with a limestone base is favourable.
- Mostly found in the wild in the mountains of Ramban, Kupwara and Anantnag districts in Jammu and Kashmir.
- These are also found in foothills of Himalayas in forests of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand.
- Conifer forests across temperature regions.
Benefits of Gucchi Mushrooms
- They are rich in protein and are loaded with Iron, Vitamins D & B.
- High antioxidant and anti-microbial properties of these mushrooms help in building immunity and helps in strengthening the liver.
- These are also rich in potassium, vitamins and copper.
- It is claimed that these mushrooms can help in heart diseases and diabetes by removing reactive oxygen species that harm the body.
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Consider the following statements about Gucchi Mushrooms:
1. Considered costliest mushrooms of India, these can be cultivated commercially.
2. In 2022 GI tag was given to Gucchi mushroom of Jammu and Kashmir.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2