Wednesday, 30 September 2015

What's that fungus?

I've been out in the woods again, snuffling through the leaf litter and hunting behind trees and on logs. I just love the way you never know what you're going to find and can literally walk around a tree and stumble across a brilliant new fungi you've never seen before.

Fungi country - mostly beech with some oak
Fungi come in so many shapes, sizes and colours that you'd think they'd be easy to identify, but they're actually very tricky. They often change shape and colour as they mature and many appear to be very similar. To have any confidence about what you're looking at you have to look at more than just the cap, examining the pattern of the gills, details of the stem and even the colour of the spores released by the fungi. I thought all those little brown moths were hard enough to identify, but I think fungi are even more difficult.

Here are some of my finds from the last week, which I've had a go at naming ...

Dapperling - the dark brown pyramidal scales on the cap remind me of the
browned meringue on a baked Alaska

I believe this is a newly emerged death cap - as the name suggests this is
one of our most poisonous fungi and emerges covered in a white veil which
soon disappears. It had crowded white gills and a white ring around the stem

Aniseed funnel - a greyish blue fungus that smells of aniseed

Beechwood sickener - a poisonous fungus that always seems to be well nibbled
by the slugs when you find one - I assume they aren't poisoned by it!

One of the cups (not sure which one) - cup shaped fungi with no stem. It had
a smooth, brown, jelly like top surface and a white almost furry underside

Trooping funnels - large fungus with a small cap in relation to the size of the
stem and gills that run down the stem

A forest of little bonnets

Hare'sfoot inkcap - the cap and stem are covered in furry white scales

Hare'sfoot inkcap

Ochre brittlegill - as the name suggests the gills are very brittle and will snap
if you touch them

Porcelain fungus - a slimy white fungus that usually grows high up on beech
Porcelain fungus growing all over the branches of a beech tree
We've barely got going with the fungi season, so it's really exciting to find so many weird and wonderful discoveries already. Whilst I've enjoyed the sunshine of the last few days, I would secretly quite like a bit more rain, just to keep the beechwoods nice and damp so even more fungi pop up! . 

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