Monday, 19 September 2016

Fabulous fungi

During my dog walk today I took a snuffle through our 'special' patch of woodland. It always seems to be full of surprises and today was no exception as there were at least a dozen huge dinner-plate sized boletes.
I used the dog to show the size of the boletes
They had pale beige coloured caps and bright red stipes, much of which had been chewed away by slugs. Boletes have pores instead of gills and theirs were bright red and the flesh was yellow. There are a few boletes that have a red stipe, but I think the pale cap, red pores and large size make these devil's boletes. Poisonous, possibly deadly, they're listed in my book as 'occasional' and are found on chalk under beech trees (which matches the location that I found them in).
The slugs had eaten a lot of the red stipe, revealing yellow flesh underneath
Red pores underneath the cap
In the same area of woodland, I found two solitary amanitas, one which was going over and another that was newly emerged. They have a pale grey cap that's covered in small white pyramidal scales. The base of the stipe is swollen and covered in bands of scales. They're listed as rare, so are quite a find.
Newly emerged solitary amanita

Solitary amanita - the scales wear off on the cap as they age. The slugs had
been enjoying this one.
Nearby I found my favourite fungus, earthstars. It's so exciting to actually spot them as they are so well camouflaged amongst the leaf litter and are smaller than you expect them to be. They remind me of tiny alien spaceships and are such an unusually shaped fungus.

As well as the devil's boletes, I've found some other boletes in the woods. The red cracking bolete is one of the more common types that we find in the Chilterns. It's smaller and has a brown cap that cracks to show the red and cream flesh underneath. The stipe is relatively thin, turning from yellow at the top to bright red at the base and the pores are yellow.

Red cracking bolete
I saw my first deathcaps so far this year. They have a pale yellow or olive cap that is smooth and shiny and the stipe grows out of a bag in the ground. They're one of our most deadly fungi!

Newly emerged deathcap
 And finally ... a slug. They are loving the recent wet weather and all the fungi that are popping up everywhere!

I'm loving the start of this years fungi season. There seem to be less fungi around so far this year compared to last year, but what there is, is all very unusual and interesting.

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