Distribution of Medicinally Important Mushrooms of Mountainous/Northern Areas of Pakistan
Rizwana Aleem Qureshi
Pakistan has very significant mountain ranges; the Hindukush, Karakurm and Himalaya. Hindukush mountain ranges further extend from the northeast to the southeast to the southwest upto Koh-Safed. These mountain ranges contain some of the highest peaks of the world i.e., K2 (9861 m), NangaParbat (8126 m), Rakaposhi (7788 m), Trich Mir (7690 m) and Deosai Plateau (4333-5333 m). The most of the flora of Pakistan (About 70%) occur in the mountains, in diverse ecological zone or habitats. The following important areas with natural vegetation have been surveyed during rainy season: North Chitral, North Swat, Kaghan Valley, Gilgit and Skardu including Deosai Plateau. The natural lakes of the same areas were also surveyed such as Saif ul Maluk, Lulusar, Sadpapra, Kachura, Shoezal. Their natural vegetation/forests were mostly consists of Pinus wallichiana, P. roxburghi, Abies pindrow, Quercus incana, Juglan regia, Juniper, Betula utillis, shrubs, herb and grasses. They were growing at various altitudes and ecozones: Sub-tropical pine zone 12 species; Temperate zone 24 species, Sub- alpine 20 species; Alpine zone 10 species. There are number of medicinal mushrooms, common genera were: Agaricus, Clitocybe, Calvatia, Coprinus, Coriolus, Fomes, Ganoderma, Morchella and Podaxis. The terrestrial environment under these forests was rich in organic matter, which was derived by the activity of a number of organisms: fungi, bacteria and invertebrate etc. More than fifty species of medicinally important Mushrooms belonging to 40 genera have been recorded. They may be Mycorrhizal, parasitic, saprophytic, terrestrial/coprophillous in their habitat.
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