An extremely rare mushroom used by traditional healers to help treat depression has been discovered at a nature reserve in Siberia.
The edible Hericium coralloides fungi was found by scientists at the Sayano–Shushenskaya reserve in the Krasnoyarsk region, the park's website reported Friday — the first time the rare species has been spotted in the area.
The mushroom, which is milky-white in appearance and looks like a coral, is listed in the Red Book — a log dating back to Soviet times used to record rare and endangered animals, plants and fungi that exist within Russia and its surrounding waters.
Hericium coralloides is revered by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and is used to treat problems with the gut, the respiratory system and to regulate diseases of the nervous system. It is also used by some witch doctors as a cure for long-term depression.
The mushroom can grow to a width of 40 centimeters and is found in parts of North America, Europe and Asia. It typically spawns between the months of July and October.