Sunday 5 October 2008

Fungi ID walk in the woods

On Saturday we had a fungi ID walk in our woods. It was run by WoodNet, and should have happened at Flimwell, but the woods there didn't have much fungi right now, so we offered ours instead. We had a good crowd of people:
The day started with the first frost of the winter though, which isn't so good for the fungi. We had to scrape a bit of ice off the car in the morning:
To start with the course tutor, Bryan Bullen, gave us a talk on fungi, explaining some of the different families and how to recognise them, using samples he'd brought with him:
Then we headed off down the wayleave, which is damp and mossy and therefore ideal fungi ground.
We spread out a bit looking for specimens, bringing them to Bryan (or Bryan to them) for ID.
One we found quite a bit of was the Brown Birch Bolete, which is edible, although best when younger than these samples:
We also saw a few stinkhorns, here's the "egg" of one that was yet to grow, with Bryan indicating the height it would normally reach.
He cut it open so we could see the jelly-like substance inside. It didn't smell yet though, as it wasn't mature.
Then we headed through the woods, spreading out to gather fungi and meeting up to ID them. We felt we found quite a good selection, but Bryan said this isn't a very good year for them so far, although better than last year. Here's what we got between us:
A few of them were edible, but we also "tasted" some inedible (though not poisonous) ones, being careful to spit them out afterwards. Some of them are extremely hot, tasting like chilli! It had never occurred to me that you could safely taste mushrooms (and I mean a very tiny amount on your tongue!), but apparently it's one of the aids to making an accurate identification. Bryan recommended we didn't try it with known killers like the Death Cap though, even though it should still be safe.


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