Wild Mushrooms of Goa

A seasonal delicacy.

For about two weeks at the beginning of August every year, clusters of villagers dot the Goan roadside hawking handpicked mushrooms known in Konkani as olmi. These edible mushrooms grow in the wild near termite mounds in the forested hills of rural Goa. Taxonomically they come under Termitomyces.

The narrow window of availability, limited supply, and high demand ensure a price premium, and as a consequence, today the Goan mushroom is in danger of being harvested out of existence.

Greatly relished by Goans, the consumption of these domed delights has long been a cultural tradition. The conventional preparation takes the form of xacuti.

I had my olmi fix a couple of days ago when I chanced upon a fresh batch in the village of Tivrem.

Mushrooms in Tivrem, Goa

Wild Goan mushrooms
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Ramdas Gaude of Tivrem

Ramdas Gaude of Tivrem with freshly harvested mushrooms
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Mushroom xacuti with Goan pão

Mushroom xacuti with Goan pão
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
 
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  • Revati - August 3, 2015 - 12:25 pm

    Hello Mr Parrikar,

    I am writing an article on the edible mushrooms called Olmi, and was interested in accessing the article by Mr Nandakumar that you have linked here. It seems to be a deadlink. Is there any way you could put me in touch with Mr Nandakumar himself?ReplyCancel

    • patel - July 1, 2016 - 4:27 am

      hi,
      this nanadakumar is a guy who works at goa university. try to get in touch with someone there. else email me back and I can get you in touch with him.ReplyCancel

  • Nandkumar M. Kamat - September 9, 2013 - 11:39 am

    Thanks to Dr. Rajanbab, for beautifully highlighting Goa’s 5000+ years old ethnomycological, rather ethnomycophagic traditions which makes all of us true Goenkars. Goans also love Ankur (edible fern), tender bamboo shoots (Quill) which cant be easily grown but we should attempt in future. Unfortunately I am not in favour of overexploitation of Termitomyces mushrooms. I campaigned for the conservation of biodiversity of these wild species since Goa has India’s 90% and world’s 45% biodiversity represented. I had discovered seven new species. The largest one was named Termitomyces santerei to honour termite hill goddess Santeri. In Tiswadi I discovered Termitomyces gomnatakiensis world’s smallest Termitomyces species. It is still being sold. These species are more important than turtles and frogs in ecosystem. This species can’t be cultivated artificially since it is symbiotic with termites. I managed to produce a “test tube Termitomyces” during my doctoral work but could not mass culture it. Having worked on these species for my doctorate and on basis of 30 years of research, here are some snippets for Goans with a humble request to spread word for their conservation globally.

     

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/7458618/EcotheologyofTermitehillan-Indian-ethnomycological-connection-by-Dr-Nandkumar-M-Kamat

     

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/11518620/Ecoconservation-of-Goas-Termitomyces-biodiversity

     

    Some scientific documentation –

     

    http://kamat-termitomycopedia.blogspot.inReplyCancel

  • Tony Mushrooms - September 5, 2013 - 2:13 pm

    Great idea that you are sharing on your post about wild mushrooms of Goa.Nice pics but please explain about the methods are either same regarding to grow wild mushrooms or any changing in it.ReplyCancel

  • Premanand - August 27, 2013 - 7:53 pm

    Yesterday my wife made “Olmi che tonak”. Relished it with “Daal-Xhit” but definitely missed the Pav.ReplyCancel

  • Premanand - August 7, 2013 - 1:25 am

    Excellent article by Prof. Kamat. I had not realized that there is so much behind the trivial looking “Olmi”. I will ensure that this article gets circulated amongst my fellow Goans.
    And needless to say, a wonderful post Rajan!ReplyCancel

  • jc - August 6, 2013 - 7:58 pm

    Rajanbab,

    Excellent photography.

    Wonder HOW either you or Nandkumar worked out that this particular batch of these wild ones (or the ones which come in from across in Banda et al) are safe.

    jcReplyCancel

  • Thomas Pindelski - August 5, 2013 - 11:52 pm

    Nat Geo quality words and images.ReplyCancel

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