Yesterday we went on a mushroom foray, lecture perhaps would be a better term. The weather was beautiful, and the woods almost had a magical air to them. The unseasonal hot weather is a boon, though tomorrow winds from the west will arrive but we have had a few classical Indian summer September days. We wandered round the edges of fields, bullocks and sheep grazed calmly, the grass in many places was still covered in dew and was thick and rich. Our guide was an expert, and of course did not talk about which was an edible mushroom, its just too tricky in this quick trigger world of compensation. One man did collect the Amethyst Deceiver for the stew pot, these were my favourite coloured mushrooms, delicate hues of lavender buried deep in the coppery-brown undergrowth. We came across one of the stink horns, a rather small example but there was also a creamy 'egg' from which they emerge, this was found by a small girl called Fern, who happily hunted and tackled the brambles to bring out the mushrooms buried deep in the woodland floor.
Bracket fungi, common earth balls (got excited about these), apparently though they are poisonous, very inconspicuously buried in the leaves.
We eventually made our way back to the centre, it was a three hour session, and he laid all our trophies out must have been about 60 or 70 different species on the table, and we wandered round looking at them. The ones I remembered are the spindle mushroom (being a spinner of course), the milk cap, apparently as there are so many of them, if you nibble them gently and the lactose is extruded (the ones you are sure about of course) the different tastes will tell of their potency, there is a peppery one out much fancied by gormandising mushroomers! Shaggy parasol is another I can now identify but to be honest it would take a whole lifetime to really learn about these strange creatures called fungi, I think he said they are fauna more than flora, because they eat everything, in microscopic form anyway.
LS took a photo of our guide dressed in his green camouflage jacket, he was an expert in his subject and if he could not identify something he would say so. Pottering around old woods looking for fungi is not a bad occupation my only worry about it all was the actual picking of them. were they rare....
|Bracket fungus and the black blobs above are 'King Alfred's Cakes' fungi|