Fungi

NEVER TOUCH, PICK OR EAT FUNGI THAT YOU FIND - SOME ARE POISONOUS!

  • Fungal growth on a dead beech tree.

Fungi come in all colours and shapes. They get their food from other plants, and often grow on dead or dying wood or leaves. They like damp, cool conditions. The part you see above ground is called the fruiting body, which makes spores. Underground is a network of white threads. These are just a few fungi we have spotted in the Quantocks.

Agarics

  • Agarics

"What is Red?"

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Agarics are mushroom-shaped fungi. The best-known is Fly agaric which grows around birch trees and pine trees. You can see its bright red cap in autumn. It is poisonous, and people used it to kill flies. This gives it its name.

Boletus & Inkcap

  • Boletus
  • Inkcap

When these mushrooms open, they have big flat caps. The gills underneath are black. When the mushroom begins to rot, it turns to a black ink-like liquid.

Bracket

  • Bracket fungus
  • Bracket fungus

Bracket fungi are also called shelf fungi – they look like shelves growing out from the tree. They are very tough and can last for a long time. Some types form lovely coloured rings which show how many years they have been growing.

Jelly

  • Jelly fungi

Jelly fungi grow on damp, dead wood. The Japanese call them shitake (tree fungus) and they are a popular food. They grow in all sorts of irregular, crumpled shapes, with strange appearances. This one is called Jew’s Ear fungus because it sometimes looks like a human ear.

Puffballs

  • Puffballs

Puffballs are fungi that grow in conifer woods. They start off whitish grey and gradually turn yellowish-brown. As they grow, they become spherical. When they are fully formed, a hole appears at the top of the ‘ball’. If they are touched, even by a rain drop, they puff out a cloud of spores through the hole. The spores are like seeds, and will start off more fungi.

Waxcaps

  • Waxcaps
  • Waxcaps

Waxcaps get their name from their waxy, sometimes slimy ‘cap’. There are 40 different types in Britain. They can be many colours – red, yellow, white and even pink. Waxcaps grow in short grass, and they like ground that hasn’t been ploughed or fertilized.

  • Mushrooms
  • Rotting fungus

NEVER TOUCH, PICK OR EAT FUNGI THAT YOU FIND - SOME ARE POISONOUS!