Sunday, 11 October 2015

A week of weird and wonderful fungi for UK Fungus Day

Today is UK Fungus Day, so Bug Mad Girl and I have been out and about all week hunting for more weird and wonderful fungi and having fun with some of their 'special' features.

Saffrondrop bonnets are one of our Chiltern specialties and are relatively easy to identify with their orange stems. They are so full of orange juice that you can take the cap off and write with them (glad to say it did wash off!)
Saffrondrop bonnets

Saffrondrop bonnets

You can write with the juice from the stem
One of the most common fungi around at the moment are puffballs. They're often overlooked, but are actually quite beautiful, especially when they're new, with their bright white spiky caps. They do turn a bit brown and sludgy when they get older and the spikes wear away leaving them looking smoother. You often see them with a hole in the top, where the spores have burst out and been shot out into the air.
Fresh puffballs
Bug Mad Girl had great fun poking the old puffballs with a stick and watching as clouds of spores shot out of the hole in the top.
An old and now battered puffball - still full of spores that 'puff'
out when hit with a stick
We've definitely found some weird fungi over the last few days ...

Large clumps of coral fungus growing out of the leaf litter under beech trees

More coral fungus
Dead moll's fingers - they do look like black fingers reaching out of the ground

Probably a russet toughshank, but this one was so curled up at the edges that
we thought it looked like a starfish
Not sure what this one is but it was soft and squishy and covered in white fur
They weren't all weird, there were plenty that were just plain wonderful ...

The fly agaric is the traditional fairy toadstall, but is poisonous. When they first emerge they're covered in a white veil that breaks up as the cap expands leaving the white spots on the cap. These spots can be washed away by the rain leaving a shiny red cap. Somebody had picked this one and propped it back up again so we took it with us to make spore prints later.

Fly agaric
The deathcap is one of our most poisonous fungi, so must be handle with care. They are an olive green colour and have a very distinctive bag at the base of the stem. They're easy to mistake for something that you might want to eat, but one of these would easily be enough to kill 2 or 3 people! That's a good enough reason for me to never eat any fungi I find out in the woods!!


Magpie inkcaps are another of my favourites. This one was in such perfect condition, but will have started to drip away by this time tomorrow and will be mostly gone by the next day.

Magpie inkcap

Golden scalycap - this was growing on the end of some cut tree trunks. It had
a very slimy cap that was covered in dark brown scales

Beechwood sickener - another poisonous one

Newly emerged blusher - related to the fly agaric, this also has a veil that
breaks apart as the cap expands leaving the grey scales on top.

Stocking webcap

Shaggy parasol - a huge dinner plate sized mushroom with shaggy scales on
the cap.

There were troops of clouded funnels throughout the woods

I think this is one of the webcaps

I'm not sure what this one is - I just liked its hairy cap!
 We took a few of our find home so that we could have a go at getting some spore prints. We took the fly agaric that had already been picked, a large parasol (that had started to break down so the stem was broken and the gills were a bit chewed and old), a wood blewit (as there are lots of those around) and one of the golden scalycaps (as they looked like they might have colourful spores).

Parasol (left), fly agaric (top right), wood blewit (middle right) and golden
scalycap (bottom right)
We put them on some coloured card and left them in the greenhouse overnight. This morning we'd got some nice prints from the golden scalycap and the fly agaric. The wood blewit had a faint pink/purple spore print that didn't show up particularly well on the card and the parasol was a bit too far gone to produce a print.

Golden scalycap

Fly agaric
Happy UK Fungus Day!

1 comment:

  1. Great fungi you found there. The magpie inkcap is absolutely beautiful. Is it a common widespred species? Also, I wonder if my you got the print idea from my blog lol.