Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fungal Foray

We had our annual Cuerden Valley Park fungal foray on Saturday September 24 lead by Dr Irene Ridge. Even before we started someone had brought in a fungus from their garden for Irene to identify which she did with her usual efficiency. We were reminded that fungi come in all sizes, from those the size of a pin head to some which look more like a giant Deep Pan Pizza. Most have Latin names but there is a move to give more of them English names. There was one that was a large white dome shaped mushroom, but my suggestion that it be re-named the " O2 arena" fungus was quickly rejected. Some of the names are self explanatory like  Beechwood Sickener, or Judges Whig. The latter is normally called shaggy ink cap and is pictured above. There are some that can be confusing. The common puff ball looks similar to an earth ball, but the earth ball which has a purple interior is poison. The puff ball, as long as the inside is white can be eaten. I must emphasise that I am no expert so please do not take my word for it that these are safe. Another which sometimes causes confusion is the common inkcap. This contains the drug antabuse which is used for those of us with a drink problem. If you do enjoy alcohol, you will not do so after eating this particular mushroom. Other fungi we found which had interesting names were: Poison Pie; White Saddle; Weeping Widow and then the one which keeps having its name changed for pc reasons, jelly fungus. We did have some non mushroom sightings as well such as self heal, Herb Robert, red campion, Himalayan Balsam and prickly sow thistle but all the foxgloves had passed their best. We had good views of great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, 16 mistle thrushes and were scolded by innumerable robins. The afternoon ended with a refreshing cup of tea in the Barn 

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