The secret to succesful shiitake mushrooms? Electric shock treatment

Japanese farming folklore says lightning makes mushrooms multiply – and research shows there is truth in it

A few years ago, I attempted to grow my own shiitake mushrooms. I purchased a special log, which had been seeded with mushroom spores, and followed the instructions to soak it and then keep it in a shady spot. Sadly no mushrooms ever fruited on my log, but maybe I would have had more luck if I’d given my log an electric shock.

According to Japanese farming folklore, lightning makes mushrooms multiply. Previous research has demonstrated that there is some truth in this tale, and now scientists are closer to understanding why.

Kate Ravilious is a science writer, @katerav

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