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March’s Monthly Mushroom: Frosty Bonnet (Mycena tenerrima)

March’s Monthly Mushroom: Frosty Bonnet (Mycena tenerrima)

by Jasper ~ 15 March, 2019 ~ comments welcome

There are not many signs of mushrooms about at the moment, as we transition to a time of emergent Spring greens and Monty Don back on telly. Resupinates  continue to flourish in the dank places beneath logs, while the remnants of certain brackets  persist on trunks and stumps. Nevertheless, aside from a few notable exceptions, like St. George’s Mushrooms or Morels, there won’t be many of the more obviously mushroom-shaped fungi around over the coming few months.

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February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

by Jasper ~ 11 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The mushrooms, toadstools or fungi that attract the most attention tend to be the more colourful, exotic, rare, recognisable or tastiest types. The Clouded Funnel can lay claim to none of these virtues. They are as common as muck and, while at one point considered edible, are now seen as best avoided for the table.

Nevertheless, despite the prevalence of the species in both coniferous and broad-leafed woodland environments, this belle laide of the mushroom world does have its charms if you are prepared to look more closely. Read more...

Monthly Mushroom: Hairy Curtain Crust (Stereum hirsutum)

Monthly Mushroom: Hairy Curtain Crust (Stereum hirsutum)

by Jasper ~ 10 January, 2019 ~ 2 comments

 

We are well past peak mushroom season now, so you can expect some degree of slippage between the various specimens featured in these Monthly Mushroom posts and what can still be found out there in the wild in the month they are posted. Not quite yet, however. Due to a rather mild winter so far, touch wood, there is currently still plenty of interest popping up on lawns, pastures, tree stumps and amongst the leaf litter. 

In any case, there is a whole swathe of fungi that should be coming into their own at the moment if you care to look out for them – although admittedly precious few willingly choose to do so. These are the crust fungi, sometimes known as patch fungi. Instead of the discrete mushroom-like reproductive bodies of our more familiar fungal finds, with their caps, stems and gills, these types manifest themselves on tree trunks, both dead and alive, or on fallen branches, as expanding leathery patches, gelatinous swellings or peeling skin-like layers of varying hues.  Read more...

December’s Monthly Mushroom: Curry Milkcap (Lactarius camphoratus)

December’s Monthly Mushroom: Curry Milkcap (Lactarius camphoratus)

by Jasper ~ 7 December, 2018 ~ comments welcome

We’re not far from the shortest day of the year now and the concurrent midwinter festive frolics that signal the arrival of Christmas. For the mushroom hunter, however, this brief period of peace and goodwill to all men also brings the slightly melancholic awareness that we are past the peak of the fungi season and it’s going to be comparatively slim pickings over the next eight or nine months.   Nevertheless, my own mycological meanderings received a bit of a boost recently with the discovery of a new site here in East Kent, a public park established on the site of the former Betteshanger colliery  situated midway between Sandwich and Deal.    This pioneering exercise in environmental sustainability makes for a great day out throughout the year no matter wherever your particular interest in the great outdoors might lie. Its 121 hectares are interwoven with cycle tracks to race around while affording some spectacular views of the surrounding area. Read more...

November’s Monthly Mushroom: Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

November’s Monthly Mushroom: Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

by Jasper ~ 8 November, 2018 ~ comments welcome

It is hard not to notice when you get close to a stinkhorn. You are most likely to catch a whiff of one long before you see it. If you find yourself lured to the source of this eye-watering odour, you will encounter a fungal form that is difficult to put out of one’s mind. These two equally offensive aspects combine to make it one of the most commonly found and identified fungi in the United Kingdom.

It shouldn’t be necessary to provide an exact English translation for the Common Stinkhorn’s  Latin name of Phallus impudicus, nor the derivation of the name Phallaceae that encapsulates the entire stinkhorn family. Those with a working knowledge of French will note its defining characteristics are contained in both its direct translation from the scientific binomial name, as ‘le phallus impudique’, and its more common sobriquet ‘le satyre puant’ (‘stinking satyr’). In Japan, it is the suppon-take (pronounced ‘soup-on takkay’) or ‘snapping-turtle mushroom’, referring to the soft-shelled fresh-water amphibian whose bobbing elongated neck has its own aphrodisiac associations in Asia. Read more...

Sulphur tuft

Monthly Mushroom: Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

by Jasper ~ 3 October, 2018 ~ one comment

Fifty shades of brown, these are the hues in which we tend to imagine our Autumns, but it struck me while wood-wandering one sunny day recently that we are still just within that transitional period of the year, around the equinox, when yellows and oranges stand out brighter than ever within the forest colour palette. As we ease into October, the woods are positively bursting with Ochre russulas (Russula ochroleuca), Honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) and Laughing Gyms (Gymnopilus junonius) and there is also still a good chance of crossing paths with the standout egg-yolk smears of Fuligo septica, or the Dog Vomit slime mould . Read more...

Monthly Mushroom: Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

Monthly Mushroom: Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

by Jasper ~ 17 September, 2018 ~ one comment

One can understand why amateur mycology might seem like an unrewarding and slightly odd pastime to the outside observer. There are many who might consider squatting amongst the leaf litter with guidebook in hand, trying to pinpoint whether the flush of slimy brown-yellow toadstools sprouting from a rotting log or tree stump could be Hypholoma fasciculare, Hypholoma capnoides or maybe even Kuehneromyces mutabilis, an ultimately pointless endeavour. Few would deem being able to distinguish Dead Moll’s Fingers from Dead Man’s Fingers or a Leopard Earthball from a Common Earthball  among the most vital of life skills.  Read more...

Monthly Mushroom: The Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)

Monthly Mushroom: The Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)

by Jasper ~ 17 August, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Parasols should be popping up all across the UK at the moment. Paul Stamets in Mycelium Running calls them “one of the most majestic of all edible mushrooms.” The second part of the Latin name Macrolepiota procera literally means lofty, upraised or extended to a great height, and they are certainly hard to miss on late-Summer and Autumn forays. 

The Parasol mushroom starts out looking something like a drumstick, before the initially egg-shaped cap opens up to a maximum size of around a foot across (typically between 10-30cm) when fully grown. Read more...

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