Tag Archives: Fungi

Shaggy Scalycap and The Lemondrop Kid

Great! Which one do you want to be?

Shut up!

FizzOkay but you don’t get the ball till you tickle my tummy.

FizzThis is going to be a post about fungi and flowers.

Fizz and I went out with the intention of shooting some vines. I want to write about Clematis vitalba, Wild Clematis, Old Man’s Beard, Travellers Joy, you know the one.

I want pictures of the stems. They hang like vines in the trees and their sheer weight can bring a tree down. Old vines are as thick as your wrist. It is an important aspect of the species that nobody ever mentions and , you know me, I have got to show this if I am going to write about the plant. I need the pictures but no luck yet, I have not really found good examples and it is too dark.

The first picture of the Robin in my last post, the bird is sitting on just such a vine.

So I was looking and I found some mushrooms.

Shaggy ScalycapI don’t know this species. That is a good thing, I love to find things that I don’t know, that is the only way to learn.

I think that it looks like a Honey Fungus but if it is, it is one that I do not know.

Shaggy Scalycap

Shaggy ScalycapI looked on the internet and all of the images that I saw suggested that this was Dark Honey Fungus but that is baloney, I know that species well.

I went out to collect samples and on the way back I met the local mushroom expert.

When I say expert, he is in his eighties and his knowledge comes from…… well he just makes it up. He told me that these were Parasol Mushrooms and that they were very good to eat. They are not.

I know the Parasol very well and it is nothing like this but I like the old fellow.

A few weeks ago he called me over and asked me if I could recognise a Chanterelle, I can but I was hesitant because I knew what was coming.

“You don’t sound very sure.” he said, “Come over here and I’ll show you.”

He has been eating these mushrooms for years and I am not sure what they are (not Chanterelles) but they haven’t killed him. These mushrooms had gills, Chanterelles don’t. He asked me to look out for them on my travels, “worth a fortune. Let me know where you find them.”

The thing that slightly alarmed me was that he told me that he had taken his wife to one of the best local restaurants and while he was there he had sold a small bag of his “Chanterelles” to the chef for twenty pounds.

I really like this man but his knowledge comes from a different place than mine.

Hardly any UK mushrooms are actually dangerous and anyway he has made it to eighty five.

Going back to my mushrooms, I had to seek expert help and I sent off these pictures asking if this was a Honey Fungus.

Shaggy Scalycap

Shaggy Scalycap

Shaggy Scalycap

Shaggy Scalycap

Shaggy ScalycapThe answer that came back was, “No, it’s a Shaggy Scalycap but you can check this. The Honey fungi all have a white spore print,  Pholiota squarrosa has a cinnamon brown spore print.”

Well, this is how we learn things.

Muddy Paw Prints (spore prints)

I am only tickling you to keep you happy, I have got another ball.

More anyway!


Shaggy Scalycap spore printThe first results were not great but pretty soon they were leaving muddy paw prints all over the kitchen and Fizz was happy.

Shaggy Scalycap spore print

Shaggy Scalycap spore print

Shaggy Scalycap spore print

FizzShaggy Scalycap, Pholiota squarrosa.

Shaggy ScalycapThe same mushrooms one week later.

Shaggy ScalycapIt used to be classed as edible but it is now recognised as poisonous. Poisonings have only been recorded when this fungus is consumed with alcohol and then the symptoms occurred about ten hours later and included vomiting and diarrhoea (not a killer).

Shaggy ScalycapIt is a saprobic fungus, feeding on dead wood but also an opportunistic parasite. It can only attack a live tree if another fungi  has weakened it first.

Shaggy ScalycapNow then, just recently Fizz has been exhibiting some unusual behaviour, possibly something to do with her celebrity status. When she gets hold of the ball she rolls over on her back and won’t give it back until she gets tickled.

FizzShe does this every time that we go out and it has become a feature of our walks. I don’t think that this is normal behaviour for a dog.

And The Lemondrop Kid, well I don’t know but this is definitely not The Scarlet Pimpernel…

Lysimachia nemorum, The Yellow Pimpernel

Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)Like it’s cousin the Scarlet Pimpernel the Yellow Pimpernel belongs to the Primrose family but that is about all that they have in common.

The Yellow Pimpernel is a shade tolerant woodland plant. In fact the second part of it’s scientific name, nemorum, comes from the Latin word nemorus and means “of the woods.”

Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)It has five stamens around a single style and it has five petals.

Note the pointed shape of the petals this helps to distinguish it from it’s close relative L. nummularia, Creeping Jenny whose yellow petals are much more rounded and also closer together.

Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)The leaves are oval and pointed.

Yellow Pimpernel pant (Lysimachia nemorum)Yellow Pimpernel flowers from May until the end of August.

Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum) Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)   Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)   Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Ericales

Family: Primulaceae

Genus: Lysimachia

Species: Lysimachia nemorum

Yellow Pimpernel flower (Lysimachia nemorum)

Yellow Pimpernel plant (Lysimachia nemorum)Wildflowers in winter.

A Beautiful Orange Theme (Slime Alert!)

It is going to be orange because the next flower that I am going to write about is not called the Orange Pimpernel.

I do know some very pretty orange things, like the Small Copper butterfly…

Small Copper Butterflyand of course I know cute things…

Like, “Puppy with an Orange ball.”

FizzToday I thought that we could do “Interesting Things” instead.

So to start us off, this is a Blushing Bracket fungus.

Blushing BracketIt is an attractive fungus and it is quite orange.

Bracket Fungus

Blushing BracketDaedaleopsis confragosa is a polypore fungus, that means that it doesn’t have gills on the underside, it has pores and this species has quite big pores.

Blushing Bracket undersideThe reason it is called a “Blushing” Bracket is because it is easy to make it blush.

To be sure of success I enlisted the help of an ex military man (22 years Airborne) for this short video, just the sort of fellow you need to make a bracket blush. (I didn’t have any sailors around.)

(and it worked)

Blushing Bracket.That is the bracket, what I really wanted to show you was something that I found eating it.

Leopard SlugI know that I said that I wouldn’t do cute but I just can’t help myself. This is absolutely my favourite slug. What’s yours?

It is not exactly orange but the pictures have an orange feel about them.

So what would you like to know about Limax maximus? I mean first, what would you like to know first? 🙂

Leopard SlugIt is a friend to gardeners. It doesn’t eat living plants but feeds on dead plants and fungi, it is also carnivorous.

Like it’s namesake the Leopard, it prowls the garden hunting down other slug species, that would damage your plants, and eating them. (Top speed, six inches per hour)

(Wikiwotsit lists it as being a major agricultural pest in the US but if you follow the notes you will see that they have got their species mixed up.)

Just to tell you a little bit about slug anatomy, the colourful, saddle like structure behind the head is called the mantle and that houses all of the vital organs. The rest of the slug is just one big locomotive muscle, what you might call a foot.

Leopard SlugThe slug has a breathing hole on the right side of it’s mantle called a pneumostome.

Leopard Slug pneumostomeThe organs coming out of it’s head are called tentacles, it has four of them which it can retract.

The top pair are it’s eyes and the bottom pair are for smelling.

Leopard SlugFinally on anatomy, you have probably guessed that slugs are related to snails. They are both Gastropods, in fact a slug is just a snail without a shell but Limax maximus does have a small internal shell.

You can see it best in this next picture it is the small white lump at the back and base of it’s mantle.

Leopard SlugI can’t show you it’s mouth parts they are concealed below it’s pretty face but at least you can see why I like it.

Leopard Slug

Leopard SlugLeopard Slugs have a fantastic and unique sex life that I haven’t had a chance to photograph yet. David Attenborough did some great film for the BBC that doesn’t seem to be available any more but I am sure that if you were to search for “Slug sex videos” you would find some more information. (that is how I stumbled upon them)

Leopard SlugSo now, an orange wildflower.

Anagallis arvensis, The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The Scarlet Pimpernel is a beautiful little wild flower of meadows and waste land,

But.. Your eyes do not deceive you, it is orange, it is not scarlet.

It should be noted that the English word “Orange” comes from the fruit of the same name and the fruit and colour were not known here until the sixteenth century.

So the Scarlet Pimpernel is a lovely little orange flower, with a purple centre and bright yellow anthers. There is also a naturally occurring blue variety but that is more common in Mediterranean countries and rare in the UK.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The flower has five stamens surrounding a single style.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The stamens are covered in small white and purple hairs. It is thought that these might serve to attract insects as the flower does not produce nectar.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The leaves grow in opposite pairs, they are oval with smooth edges.

Scarlet Pimpernel leaves (Anagallis arvensis)

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)The flower has several common names such as the Shepherd’s Weather-glass and Poor Man’s Barometer that relate to it’s weather forecasting abilities.

It closes at night and opens late in the morning but it will only open in full sun and as soon as it clouds over the flower closes again and forecasts rain.

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis) Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)   Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)   Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Ericales

Family: Primulaceae

Genus: Anagallis

Species: Anagallis arvensis

Scarlet Pimpernel flower (Anagallis arvensis)

Wildflowers in winter.

Get off the log! (Again)

It was a beautiful day today.

November DayIt really was a day for shirtsleeves. It is hard to believe that it is nearly December.

November DayWhat was really great was that this wonderful weather coincided with National “Take your Idiot to Work” Day.

I picked up the nearest idiot and off we went. We are going fungus shooting.

SelfieWe are going back up to the Sweet Chestnut coppice because there was so much to see up there. In fact today I shot about six species but I am only going to show you one in this post because I am still working on identifying the others.

Today’s fungi is Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare and it is a pretty one. In fact I think that this one was invented by Walt Disney and appeared in several of his films before escaping from his studios and becoming the familiar woodland mushroom that we know today.

Here are some old photographs. The first from last February and the other two are from some years back.

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur TuftThat growing formation is very typical of this species. It is called Sulphur Tuft because it is sulphur in colour and it grows in tufts. The specimen that I found today was not typical in it’s growth habit, being very spread out but I have had my ID checked by the experts.

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

IdiotGet off the log!

IdiotSo let us have a closer look at this beautiful fungi.

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft



Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft

AssistantAs always Fizz was a great help to me and I probably couldn’t have got any of these pictures without her 🙂

Look up! That’s November.November Sky

Long ShadowsI have some other beautiful fungi and some shockingly bad behaviour still to show you but I must work on my ID’s first.

Jew’s Ear?

I don’t like that name  It is a corruption of Judas’s Ear and comes from the idea that Judas hanged himself from an Elder tree. It is very unlikely that Judas did choose an Elder, they don’t grow very tall and they just don’t have the right growth habit for suicide.

I don’t think that there is any mention of an Elder Tree in the New Testament (Scholars of the Bible feel free to correct me). The idea that an Elder was involved stems from fourteenth century English literature. A time when it was the practice to malign trees as well as people. It was the oppression of Paganism because Pagans worshipped trees.

Now I am not Anti-Semitic and I quite like Pagans and their trees, so I have two reasons for not liking the name Jew’s Ear.

It is hard to escape though because the Latin name is  Auricularia auricula-judae. From the Latin Auricula meaning “Ear,” It is an Ear Ear-Judas.

That Latin is in itself wrong because the rules of taxonomy (Binomial nomenclature) say that a species name can comprise of only two words but they have got around that by adding a hyphen. Some people still refer to this species as Auricularia auricula which is actually more correct and drops all of the oppressive connotations.

‘Ere ‘Ere!

Wood EarWell it does look a bit like an ear.

Other common names for this fungus are Jelly Ear and Wood Ear. It is a Jelly Fungus and it does grow on wood, so they are both good names.

Imagine finding Ears…

Wood Ear….and brains, at the same time.

Purple Jelly DiscYou would be looking around for Nose Fungus next. (My apologies to anyone who has actually got nose fungus)

Wood Ear

Wood EarSo where does the Elder Tree come into this?

Well you will almost always find it growing on Elder. 90% of the time, it does grow on other wood like Sycamore, Beech and Spindle but nearly always you will find it on Elder.

It is saprobic, it mostly feeds on dead wood but occasionally parasitic too.

Wood Ear

Wood Ear

Wood Ear

Wood EarTechnically it is edible but nobody eats it in the West. (it is a “wont’t kill you but is horrible” type). It has a history of  use in Herbal Medicine where it has long been used specifically to cure sore throats (Boil in milk and gargle with it).  I think that this is probably nonsense based on the idea that Judas would have had a sore throat when he hanged himself.

It is widely eaten in the East. There is a Chinese culture of serving medicines in food and a medicinal soup is made from this fungi to cure colds and fevers.

Wood Ear

Wood Ear

Wood EarWhat else can I tell you?

When the fruit dies it looks like this.

Wood EarThat is my little Wood Ear.

Now a Pixie must be looking for these..Wood Ear

My Precocious little Tremella mesenterica.

My lease says, “No Pets!” So it probably goes without saying that my pets can’t have pets either. Try telling a Yellow Brain Fungus that 🙂

It is raining today. Fizz and I have been out for hours but taking photographs was difficult so today I am not going to write “The Hunt For Red November,” which is what our walk turned into, I am going to tell you a different story.

Cast your mind back to March. Fizz and I were just little puppies then with all of the Spring and Summer to look forward to. We were exploring the sheep pasture when we found some interesting sticks under an old Oak tree.

Yellow Brain FungusThis stick contains a fungus known as Yellow Brain Fungus or Tremella mesenterica.

Yellow Brain Fungus

Yellow Brain Fungus

Yellow Brain FungusIt is an interesting Jelly fungus because although it lives in dead wood it does not feed on the wood, it is parasitic on crust fungi that are also in the wood.

I brought my sticks home to live with me for future observation and also because I sometimes get lonely and I thought that it would be nice to have a pet of my own.

SticksThe other sticks in this picture are possessed by a fungi called Black Witches Butter, I will tell their story another day.

Just as with any new pet I taught it basic obedience. I taught it to “Stay.” That was the only thing that it really picked up.

Then at the beginning of March I put it on a shed roof just outside of my front door and told it to stay. A grape vine grew over it and I forgot about it until yesterday. Eight months later my obedient stick was right where I had left it.

It had developed a new fruit body.

Yellow Brain FungusThis fruit is a very different colour because it is wet. As it dries out the colour gets darker and the one that I found in March was quite dry. I am very happy to see it like this, it has added to my knowledge of Yellow Brain Fungi 🙂

Yellow Brain Fungus

Yellow Brain Fungus

Yellow Brain FungusBut this is not what this post is about…..

Down at the other end of the stick something else was going on.

Tremella mesenterica stickNow I have a stick that is possessed by a yellow fungi and so I naturally assumed that the yellow “happening” at the end of the stick was another aspect of my T. mesenterica.

It doesn’t look like Yellow Brain Fungus but what are the chances of my stick being owned by two different yellow species?

Slime Mould

Slime MouldI keep my brains in a stick on the shed roof, I had to seek expert help and after a bit of head scratching this is what they told me…

You do indeed have two different species in your stick Colin. That what you are watching is a slime mould just beginning to form.

My Brain Fungus has a pet of it’s own.

Slime Mould

Slime MouldSlime Moulds are amoebas, single cell organisms. They are very similar to fungi and used to be classified as such but now they belong to a different Kingdom altogether, the Amoebozoa.

Like Fungi they reproduce through spores and they eat organic matter but unlike fungi they can move.

When food is abundant slime moulds only exist as single cell organisms but when food is in short supply they can send out a signal to all the other little slime moulds that calls them all together. They congregate into a bigger organism that can detect new food supplies.

That is what we are watching. The Slime Moulds are having a party 🙂

AmoebozoaWhen I checked on them this morning they had transformed themselves.

Slime MouldI am sorry about the quality of these pictures but it really is dark and wet here and I have to photograph this now, as it happens.

Slime MouldA couple of hours later it is evident that they are still moving.

Slime MouldWhere are they going? Do they want us to follow them? Is Little Timmy trapped down a well somewhere?

Hang on Timmy! Help is on the way. (Hmm… Slime Moulds move quite slowly, I am afraid Little Timmy is out of luck)

Nevertheless we shall follow it.

Slime MouldI have no idea what species this is but we may be able to find out when it is more fully formed or at least find out something more about it.

So that has been one of the highlights of my day. I am hoping for better weather tomorrow. Until then….


Dark Honey

At last I have found something really exciting.

I have dragged Fizz up to look  at some old Sweet Chestnut coppice and she isn’t over excited because we have to walk on the road and there isn’t any playing ball as we go.

It is okay once we reach the wood.

CoppiceThe floor is thick with the Sweet Chestnut leaves. These leaves contain toxins that inhibit the growth of other plants but some things do well here and we will have a look at them when we return tomorrow.

FizzThis is what I have found.

Dark Honey FungusArmillaria ostoyae. It is the same Honey Fungus that used to grow in woodland that I owned some years ago.

I wrote a post about it recently About Honey Monsters using pictures that I had taken years ago. I am excited to have the opportunity to photograph it again and that is why we are going back for another look tomorrow.

When I saw it today I had a good idea what it was but I couldn’t get proper confirmation until I got home, it has been a few years since I found one of these. There are some key identification features that I still want to photograph and we could eat it.

I probably won’t eat it just because I like to see it on the tree but I will try a little bit just to see if I have a reaction and then I can eat it next time. You should always try a little bit first if you haven’t eaten a species before.

Here are some of the pictures that I took today.

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey Fungus

Dark Honey FungusIt’s a tree. Somebody tell him it’s a tree, we’ve got things to play.

Dark  Honey FungusSensing that my companion was  somewhat less enthusiastic about mushrooms than I was, I dragged her off to a field for some playtime.

We are at the top of he hills now and the fields are dry, close cropped and full of sunshine.

Happiness is round and yellow.

Sweetness and Light

I thought that I had better give you an update.

FizzJust in case anybody doesn’t know what’s going on with Fizz and myself let me explain.

Fizz’s owner, Margaret, has gone away for the weekend and asked me to look after Fizz. Just as she was leaving, Margaret said to me, “Just  keep a close eye on her this time, I think she’s coming into season.”

Not being quite sure what that meant I looked it up on the internet and it said, “Your dog will be desperate for .. well, company. She will try and escape and other dogs will take an interest in her.” Okay.

Actually I think that Margaret was mistaken, Fizz is being a little angel and not misbehaving at all. We are just avoiding public places where she might be led into temptation.

We had a lovely walk today. There was a cold wind but plenty of sunshine and Butterflies.

Red AdmiralThis  was nice to see in November. I chased this Red Admiral all over the place and took a lot of pictures. I will probably give it it’s own post but for now here it is demonstrating it’s perfect camouflage.

Now you see me…

Red AdmiralOOh! Where’s the butterfly gone?

Red AdmiralHere is a pretty little mushroom. I don’t know what it is. I know you are going to say Amethyst Deceiver but it is not. I am very familiar with that one. I think that this could be a Lilac Fibrecap but I didn’t get the pictures that I wanted so I am going to leave it for now. I know where to find them and will pop back up there one morning after a bit of rain and see if I can get some more.

For now it is just pretty.

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified FungiThere were still plenty of flowers about. The wind made photographing them a bit difficult. I took lots of shots of the Herb Robert but it moved in most of them.

Herb Robert

Herb RobertHerb Robert is one of those flowers that I expect to see pretty well all winter. You always get the odd flower that opens out of season and there is just so much of this around that I can almost guarantee to find at least one on any day of the year. Red Campion is the same, very prolific.

Now for another fungi. A lovely find but I don’t know what this one is either. The difference is that I have a lot of good quality photographs of this one. If it is possible to ID it from a photograph then I should be able to do so and it will have it’s own post. I am holding back for now.

Unidentified Fungi

Unidentified FungiOkay, let’s get dirty. That is what we really came out for.

Unidentified Fungi

FizzNo, you can be muddier than that.


FizzIsn’t she sweet?

FizzI think that we need deeper puddles 🙂

In the Garden

As we have the run of the place this weekend Fizz has been showing me around her estate.

Fizz's EstateThis garden is on the opposite side of the house to my flat and I don’t come here often. This is a lovely thick mossy lawn that you sink into and leave footprints.

FootprintsIt is mown regularly with one of those drive on lawn mowers but there is a thick bed of moss under the grass. It is full of mushrooms.



FungiThank you for showing me this Fizz. This is a really nice piece of grass.

FizzI expect that we will be having a look at some of these mushrooms in more detail over the next few days.

I am going to start with this one.

Parrot WaxcapThis is called a Parrot Waxcap, Hygrocybe psittacina. It is one of the easiest Waxcaps to identify.

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot WaxcapWell it is parrot coloured.

Most Waxcaps are edible but nothing special. They don’t taste particularly good and many of the species are quite rare, for this reason it is generally frowned on to forage for Waxcaps. They are often slimy as well, so a bit off putting. There is no good reason to eat this one.

However the Parrot Waxcap is one of the more common ones and so I am going to cut a couple open and have a proper look at them.

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot WaxcapThose colours are real by the way. It is a beautiful little fungi that could almost certainly learn to repeat things that you said to it, given time. Unfortunately the fruits don’t last long enough to learn things like that.

These Waxcaps are regarded as an indicator of grassland quality. I have heard that they can only appear on grassland that has been maintained and unimproved (unfertilised) for at least thirty years. Natural grassland. So Fizz’s grass is good grass.

As to what they are doing here, it was long believed that they were saprobic on grass roots but the thinking these days is that they have a mutually beneficial relationship with mosses. That would make good sense this is very mossy grass.

Parrot Waxcap

Parrot WaxcapThere is more fungi to come if I can just figure out what it is 🙂

The Night I Didn’t Get Ate By Zombies

Ha! We seem to have fungi coming out of our ears.

This is a story for those doubters who question the idea that I may have a Gorilla up my back passage, or an Emu for that matter, we will have to wait for the results of that one. So this is a story that is a bit more realistic.

This all didn’t happen about eight or nine years ago when I was camping out in woodland in East Sussex. I owned a little bit of land there and I had a regular camp where I would stay most weekends.

It was just a platform in a Sweet chestnut Tree.

Base CampThis picture was taken in winter, most of the time I didn’t have the basha up, I liked to sleep under the stars.

The animals made this place special for me. I had been feeding them here for years and my camp was always full of life. The Squirrels were the cheekiest.

Grey SquirrelOn this particular day I had seen something out on the track that I wanted. (The first of our mushrooms)

ParasolThis is a mushroom called a Parasol and it is good to eat.

If you are lucky enough to live in the UK then this is a good one for foragers. There are no  poisonous mushrooms that look like this. The only possible exception is the Shaggy Parasol which many people cite as edible but is known to cause gastrointestinal problems in some individuals.

This information definitely does not apply to North America where there is a very poisonous look alike called the False Parasol that is the largest cause of mushroom poisoning there. They don’t occur in the UK.

The Parasol, Macrolepiota procera has dark fixed scales on a creamy background.

ParasolI am not saying go out and eat a spotty mushroom, it must have at least a passing resemblance to the one I am showing you.

Amanitas have spotted caps and some of them are very poisonous but they usually have light coloured spots on a dark background. Stay away from white ones.

Fly Agaric

Grey Spotted AmanitaAmanitas also have floppy fixed rings and sit in a cup although that isn’t always obvious.

As soon as the cap opens you can see that a parasol has a ring, it is loose and you can move it up and down the stem.

ParasolIt also has a lovely snakeskin pattern on the stem. If you want to avoid the Shaggy Parasol then look for that pattern. The Shaggy Parasol doesn’t have it.

ParasolSo here is the mushroom that has caught my eye today.

ParasolIn the US the advice is not to eat young caps like this because at this stage it is easy to confuse them with the poisonous False Parasol. In the UK they are best like this.

This one has a lovely pattern on the stem and I know that it is safe to eat.

ParasolOkay regular foragers will probably hate me for what I am going to do next. The Parasol has a very good flavour and it is best served on it’s own or with mild flavours so that you can appreciate the mushroom to the full.

However earlier in the day I had foraged myself a nice venison steak, some chillies, tomatoes, prawns, a few sprigs of rosemary and some strong cheese. It is just while I was out hunting the Deer I noticed this little mushroom and thought that would fit right in there beside my steak in my little pan.

So it is back to camp and prepare the food.

DinnerYes it is getting dark now but when you are out in the wild there is not a lot to do after dark, except cook and eat and stuff like that.

So discard that beautiful stem, it is tough and fibrous. Lose the ring obviously and chop your vegetables into reasonable sizes.

DinnerPop it all into a little pan and notice that the wild mushroom adds a certain visual appeal to an otherwise rather bland meal

DinnerOn this particular evening I served my meagre repast with a small bottle of the house Jack.

That little bottle probably saved my life.

DinnerAfter eating and cleaning up I settled down in my tree to enjoy the evening and it was a good one.

Stars twinkled in the sky. Tawny Owls called to each other. The old Badger came around and we drank some more whisky and told each other stories.

BadgerI remember that I was telling him about the old days when I used to be a Pirate, before I became a Big Game Hunter and Butterfly Collector. (Not all of my stories are true)

I drifted off to sleep with a strong feeling of peace and well being around me and I slept like a log. To this day I believe that it was that deep sleep and possibly the fact that I was up a tree that saved my life the night that I wasn’t ate by Zombies.

I was awoken by somebody pelting me with peanuts.

“Wake up Col! It’s Zombies,” his little eyes seemed to say.

Grey Squirrel(Bluebells? Tell the continuity lady that I need to speak to her right now!)

What is it little Squirrel, do you want me to follow you?

I jumped out of my tree and followed the Squirrel, there were brains splattered everywhere.

Purple Jelly DiscCould it be Ogres? They would crack your bones to suck out the marrow but then, they would definitely eat the brains. This was something else, probably Zombies. I took as many pictures as I dared and I got out of that wood sharpish.

Purple Jelly Disc

Purple Jelly Disc

Purple Jelly DiscI looked it up when I got home and you are never going to believe this…

It is another mushroom. Well it is a fungi called Purple Jelly Disc, Ascocoryne sarcoides. It is what they call a saprobic fungi and that means that it feeds on and breaks down dead wood and other organic matter. This one typically feeds on Beech Wood but here it was eating Sweet Chestnut.

This thing that Fungi do in breaking down dead matter is hugely important to the ecology of the woodland. If fungi didn’t do this everything would just stay where it died and we would be up to our necks in it.

Fungi fill many other roles as well. There is a huge amount of fungi in the forest but most of it we can’t even see. It lives underground and in the bodies of fallen trees. The bits that we do see are just the fruit of a much larger organism.

Kingdom Fungi is so diverse, just as much so as Kingdom Plantae and Kingdom Animalia but sometimes harder to study because we can’t see it. What we can see fascinates me.

Purple Jelly Disc

Purple Jelly DiscWell thank you for reading this nonsense. Now it is time to walk the Dog. 🙂

We have to just leave the Gorilla Cam where it is for a few days. Animals can smell when we have been around and our best chance of getting anything lies in staying out of the way for a bit. I will post results later in the week hopefully.


Bolbitius Titubans

Lovely name. It is a Yellow Fieldcap mushroom and it is very pretty and quite distinctive, so it has a post.

Yellow Fieldcap

Yellow FieldcapI hadn’t come across this one before and didn’t know what it was when I first saw it. It is quite common on farmland and when I look it up I learn that it likes well manured fields and rotting hay.

Back in June these fields were cut for silage.

SilageThey were quite efficient but still they didn’t collect all of the grass. What was left dried to hay and then rotted. (except for the quantity that I gathered for the Badgers)

HaySo this is exactly where I found my Yellow Fieldcaps, growing on rotting hay in a well manured field.

Yellow Fieldcap

Yellow Fieldcap

Yellow FieldcapI wish that I had recognised it straight away. This mushroom has a very short lifespan. From this stage, with the bright yellow caps it will open up turn grey/brown and die in a matter of hours. That is a process that I would have liked to have photographed. Never mind, I shall look for some more.

Yellow Fieldcap

Yellow FieldcapIt is one of those mushrooms sometimes described as inedible. It isn’t poisonous but there is just no point in eating it. It doesn’t taste special and has very little substance.

It is a lovely colour, a very pretty little thing to find in the fields.

Yellow Fieldcap