A botany teacher from Anantnag in Kashmir, Dr Rouf Hamza Boda has spent two decades of his life trying to document the variety of mushrooms in the valley.

Presently teaching at the Government Higher Secondary School in Verinag, Dr Rouf says that his aim is to detail how mushrooms can be a stable source of income.

Calling it his dream project, he documents every mushroom’s nutritional value, texture, cultivation pattern, and category to raise awareness about the variety of mushrooms and their health benefits.

“There are more than 500 species that grow in forests, mountains and soil across the state,” says Dr Rouf, who did his PhD thesis on the nutritional and medicinal value of mushrooms at the University of Kashmir.

So far, the professor has identified 100 mushrooms, and he shares some interesting details about five edible ones with high nutritional values.

Gucci mushrooms Besides being the most expensive mushroom in the world, Gucci mushroom is rich in minerals, iron, copper, and Vitamin D, and, hence, is highly valued across the world.

Inky cap mushrooms These mushrooms are high in protein, minerals, and vitamin D. “However, they can prove to be fatal if alcohol is consumed before and after ingesting them,” Dr Rouf warns.

Puffball mushrooms “Due to their high iron content, these mushrooms can be used to cure anaemia and wounds. They grow in the spring season and are usually cooked with tomatoes,” he says.

Dingri or oyster mushrooms Seen abundantly growing in Kashmir, these mushrooms have antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties, alongside fibre, vitamins and minerals, he informs.

Bolete mushrooms Bolete are companion mushrooms that grow near or around pine trees. As per Dr Rouf, these fix nitrogen around the roots of trees. “Boletus are loaded with minerals such as selenium, manganese, zinc, copper, iodine, and molybdenum. They also have calcium and phosphate,” he says.