A joint effort by two Czech universities claims to have developed the most accurate plant image recognition system in the world. Able to identify thousands of different kinds of plants and mushrooms, the software has already won three international competitions, beating human experts in the process.
Czechs collected more than 6.6 billion crowns worth of mushrooms and fruits in the country’s forests in 2017. In all, people picked 41,300 tonnes, which is 1.5 billion tonnes more than in the previous year. The news was reported by the website e15.cz on Friday, citing the annual report by the Czech University of Life Sciences.
In 2016, Czechs picked more than five billion crowns worth of fruits and
mushrooms in the country’s forests. In all, people picked 33,800 tons,
which is less than the long-term average of 39,300.
The news was confirmed by a new report for the government on the state of Czech forests and forestry on Wednesday.
In monetary terms, Czechs picked 800 million crowns’ worth less year-on-year. A single household picked 8.14 kilograms.
Just like every summer, Czechs are setting off to forests all around the country armed with baskets and knives in their annual hunt for mushrooms, one of the most popular national pastimes. This season, recognition of the various fungi species may be easier than ever, thanks to a new mobile app which has recently been launched by a team of Czech developers.
Three times more Czechs have been poisoned this year from mushroom picking compared with last year. So far 52 instances of poisoning have been reported by hospitals, half of the cases concerned children. The sharp rise is explained by the drought conditions over the same period last year resulting in a mushroom scarcity and the fact that many varieties of poisonous mushrooms appeared to have prospered so far this year.
The Czech food inspection authority has seized a shipment of Polish mushrooms which contained four times the allowed levels of pesticides. The authorities have notified the EU’s rapid alert system of the find. Long-term consumption of the mushrooms could harm consumers’ health, according to the authorities. The contaminated mushrooms were discovered in a shop in Trutnov, east Bohemia, and their importer now faces fines.
Mycologist in the Přerov region have found a mushroom from the Boletaceae family, which had previously not been sited in the Czech Republic. The mushroom does not have a Czech name yet, and its first appearance was recorded in Italy six years ago. It has also been found since in Italy and England. It is yet unknown whether the mushroom is edible, but scientists believe that it most likely is.
In this edition of Magazine: the town of Tábor now boasts the biggest chocolate and march pane museum in the Czech Republic, Czech Lego enthusiasts have built the highest Lego tower in the world and, a Czech firm producing winter sports gear has put out a special line of skis and snowboards with a picture of President Václav Klaus.