Quantock Hills Blog

So much fungi not mushroom for us!

- Ranger Tim finds some fabulous fungi on his walk with specialist Patrick Watts Mabbott

Tim Russell

Posted by Tim Russell on 22 October 2012

So much fungi not mushroom for us! The fungus walks this weekend were a huge success ... the weather was kind and there was plenty to find. Again the walks were hosted by Janet White at Durborough Farm. The farm has been managed sympathetically so that wildlife can thrive, and plenty of rare waxcap fungi were found, useful indicators of old, short swarded fields. Some of these are on the Red Data list of important and threatened flora and fauna.

Both walks were completely full and everyone was enthralled by the amazing variety of fungi that we found and the incredible facts associated with these pretty strange organisms.  For example, the Honey Fungus is possibly the largest organism on the planet with its 5km or more length of mycelium, and the incredible ability of slime mould to map the Tokyo Underground (when fed at different stations) and show short cuts for electronic circuit boards, pretty amazing Sci-Fi stuff!

The colours were pretty amazing too with the bright green of the Parrot Waxcap, bright yellow of the Persistent Waxcap and the almost fluorescent, ghostly white of the Porcelain fungus.

I attempted to keep a list of what we found (roughly in order of finding them), and these include:

Snowy waxcap, mottlegill, candle snuff fungus, meadow waxcap, persistant waxcap, King Alfred’s Cakes, turkey tail fungus, honey fungus, lots of Mycenae (the LBJs of the fungi world), porcelain fungus, wood blewitt, dead mole’s fingers, hairy curtain crust, smokey bracket, sulphur tuft, artist’s pallet fungus, amethyst deceiver, red crackling beleat, glistening ink cap, common ink cap, razor strop fungus, jelly fungus, deadman’s fingers, slime mould, milk cap, hedgehog fungus, flyagaric, penny bun, parrot waxcap, butter waxcap, parachute fungus, liberty cap, chantrelle, golden spindle, purple jelly disc, oyster mushroom and oyster ling fungus.

There are about 10,000 named fungi in the world of which 7,000 are too small to really see (moulds and slimes), 3,000 are classed as macro fungi (easy to see).  Of these 30 are ok to eat and 30 will kill you, leaving about 2,640 not to sure about.

All in all a fascinating way to spend an autumn Sunday.  Many thanks to Janet for providing such a wonderful venue and for Patrick Watts-Mabbott for leading another great fungi walk.


Photo: Patrick Watts-Mabbott showing the group a Ballerina (or Pink) Waxcap

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