Ser Sha The Golden Mushroom Mushroom Tours in Tibet
(Floccularia luteovirens formerly Armillaria luteovirens)
Photo above: July 2006, 3300m; Wuyaowu, Lake Kokonor [Tsongon / Qinghai Hu], Chabcha / Gonghe County, Tsolho / Hainan TAP, Qinghai Province © Daniel Winkler
Ser Sha , the "Golden" or "Yellow mushroom" is Tibet's most famous and beloved edible grassland mushroom. During collection season in July and August collectors offer them for sale along the roads or at markets. The price is relatively low, since there is no export market.
In the Chinese fungal literature it is known as Armillaria luteo-virens. However, Floccularia luteovirens, as it is known now, is in Europe and North America an ecto-mycorrhizal fungus, living in symbioses with trees [photo from Colorado]. On the Tibetan Plateau this mushroom is common in grasslands far from the reach of roots of any tree or shrub. However, on the grasslands it might be root-associated with an omnipresent knotweed, Polygonum bistorta (=Bistorta major) or Kobresia sedges.
The taxonomy of this mushroom from the Tricholomataceae is not very clear. Its European equivalent has been named:
Floccularia straminea (Kumm.) Pouz.,
Floccularia luteovirens (Alb. e Schw.) Pouzar
Armillaria luteovirens (A. e S. ex Fr.) Gill.
Also, its Tibetan name is sometimes transcribed as sesha.
Shimpu du! tasty,
Lhasa, Khichu Hotel 2005 © Daniel Winkler
Mother with child stringing up Sersha for drying.
July 2006, 3300m; Wuyaowu, Kokonor [Tsongon / Qinghai Hu], Chabcha / Gonghe County, Tsolho / Hainan TAP, Qinghai Province © Daniel Winkler
Sersha at the vegetable market in Lhasa. One pound was sold for RMB 40, more than the matsutake at the neighboring stand. That demonstrates how highly estimated this mushroom is in Tibet.
© Daniel Winkler, July 23, 2010
Sersha dealer selling mushrooms at Nyenchen Tanglha Pass (4460m) with Nyenchen Tanglha Range in back (7011m). Damshung / Dangxiong County,
July 2005, © Daniel Winkler
The snow lion, Tibet's mythological protector, is here protected in the four directions by Sersha mushrooms. © Daniel Winkler, July 23, 2010
Page first created: Fall 2005 Last change: 12-8-2010