Species of the Month – Fungi
Even though the warm temperatures persist, the last fortnight has seen a tangible transition between the seasons and you cannot have failed to notice the vibrant splendour of the changing colours in the canopy. We have enjoyed some glorious sunny mornings as well as the first fogs – it’s a wonderful time of year to enjoy our countryside.
Our office is full of fun guys (and gals) and so it seems fitting to focus October’s Species of the Month on the wonderful world of fungi…
Animal, vegetable, mineral…? None of the above! Fungi occupy their very own kingdom alongside plants and animals (and other super-scientific realms of the natural world).
The Ranger team have become increasingly distracted from their hard work as more and more species spring up; seemingly overnight. Fungal foraying is addictive and we have decided to share with you six
species that can all be found in our local woods.
Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria – the easily recognised classic fairy tale toadstool! It’s best to look for this gem in woodland where Silver Birch grows and Penn wood hosts an impressive display. But as the warning colour hints, don’t be tempted to lick or eat as it could poison you.
- Porcelain Fungus Oudermansiella mucida – this is one of Ranger Rodgers’ favourite species and is strongly associated with beech woodland, particularly dead or decaying trees. Exquisitely delicate looking with a slimytop that gives it its glistening appearance.
- Magpie Inkcap Coprinopsis atramentaria – occurs most often in deciduous woodland, particularly under beech and actually a rare find nationally! Luckily for you… they are locally common and we had the joy of discovering this delight in Booker Woods.
- Amethyst Deceiver Laccaria amethystine – a colourful number with a cool name, this is another species found plentifully under beech trees so an easy one to find here in the Chilterns.
- Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare – very common and can form quite impressive, jostling clumps of fruiting bodies. It thrives at its happiest in the rotting stumps of broadleaf trees.
- Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulphurous – a bracket fungus that is said to taste like roast chicken but we would never advocate eating something unless you are entirely confident in your identification before hungrily cramming your mouth full! This impressive yellow giant usually grows on standing deciduous trees and can be found in our very own Highfield and Hangingcroft Wood.
We could spend hours thinking of our favourites but here is a list of some other species that have been seen on our sites:
Collared Earthstar (Castlefield Wood)
Dog Stinkhorn (Keep Hill Wood)
Various Boletes (King’s Wood is a good place to spot these and they are interesting because they have pores instead of gills).