The mushroom is the fruiting body of a fungus. A fungus that grows underground and works like a root system, spending considerable time establishing itself, preparing to blossom.
Then, almost mystically, the mushroom springs up overnight, doubling in size in less the 24 hours as water rushes into the cell membrane. An accelerated growth that only happens at the appropriate time, given some clue from nature and the right environmental conditions.
Excited by the rapid growth, and the appeal of a great tasting side to our evening meal, we can pick the mushroom too soon, missing out on essential flavour development.
Or we can wait.
But wait too long and risk the mushroom leathering and tasting off.
The key to harvesting mushrooms, like identifying sporting talent, is to understand its maturity.