While chatting on the phone to my Dad over the autumn months, he mentioned several times how amazing the fungi around where they live have been this year, so it was exciting to look at his photos when we visited over Christmas.
There were some really fascinating species, including some that I have never seen before, so I thought I would share a selection of his pictures along with a few tidbits of information that I gleaned along the way.
I must warn you that I am far, far from an expert in mushrooms and I may well have wrongly identified some of these, so if anyone out there knows better please let me know. And of course don’t pick or eat anything without being 100% sure of the species.
First up we have this little beauty which I think is Russula emetica, better known as The Sickener, it won’t take much imagination to work out why!
Also lots of common puffballs which can grow singly or in large groups and are edible when young.
These amazing fellows are Laccaria spp., I think Laccaria laccata which is the most ubiquitous, though as their common name is The Deciever and cap colours are variable, I could have got it wrong!
They start off flatish, then curl up into themselves looking like some kind of exotic sea creature and most species are edible.
There were plenty of Fly agaric, Amanita muscaria, a mushroom which never fails to bring me joy. It’s no wonder they have worked their way so firmly into folklore and the popular imagination, looking as magical as they do.
These unusual looking visitors are actually the fairly common Yellow Club but the white version below, sometimes called Fairy Fingers, is quite rare.
Here are some Common Inkcaps which, though edible, cause nausea, palpitations and other unpleasant effects when taken with alcohol. According to Roger Phillips they were once used to cure alcoholics in an ingenious form of aversion therapy!
I was very excited to see this Earthstar, Geastrum triplex, which I had read about in Christopher Hobbs’ book on Medicinal Mushrooms. Apparently it has been used in Chinese Medicine as a tonic for the lungs and throat. According to my guide books it is not considered edible but Hobbs says it is decocted into tea and drunk to reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Here’s some beautiful Parasols, before and after opening.
I thought this one might be a Shaggy Parasol but my Dad thought it was another common one , what do you think?
I think this is a Butter Waxcap because of the faint striations at the margin of the cap.
I’m not too sure about any of these though… ideas are most welcome!
And last but not least and somewhat more easily identifiable, here is the man himself, in full Yule regalia. Doesn’t he look grand?
Learning more about local mushrooms and which ones can be used medicinally is high on my agenda for 2012 so hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have some more interesting information to share with you.