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12/2021: Harvesting medicinal plants and mushrooms

Blog post by Katarzyna Stojek (WP2)

The best time to collect many medicinal plants is in June. Many of them just finished flowering and have the highest content of active substances. We harvested Urtica dioica (nettle), Rubus fruticosus (blackberry), and Galium aparine (sticky willy). As you can imagine, picking up prickly blackberries, stinging nettle, and sticking to everything sticky willy was pretty challenging. But, eventually, we finished with a car full of dry plants.

In October, we visited all the plots once more to collect mushrooms. We needed to pick up all the mushrooms from the plots, identify them, weigh and dry them – usually we started at 7.30 and finished after 9 pm. It was exhausting, but worth it – we got a lot of data, and strolling through the autumn forest was an incredible experience,

Now, we start our laboratory analysis – we estimate the content of active substances of medicinal plants and the nutritional values of mushrooms. Then we will compare these results between probes derived from different plots, searching for relationships between the results and tree species identity, diversity, and other environmental factors. Finally, it is time to roll up sleeves and analyze our probes. And there are a lot of them 🙂

Read more about the work done in WP2 here.