This bolete is ochre, reddish-brown or chestnut in colour, and can be greasy and felty, developing cracks near the centre. The pores are a bright lemon-yellow, becoming olive with age. Cap width 8 to 15cm. Stem height 8 to 12cm.
Seen late summer to early autumn. Found in deciduous woodland, but not exclusively with oak as the common name states. A rare bolete which is more frequent in the south.
I came across clusters of this inkcap growing out the rotting base of an old tree trunk. The cap is covered in fine white mica-like scales or flecks. It grows up to 3cm across, begins egg-shaped then develops into a bell-like form. The gills begin white then turn black.
Seen May to November in clusters on decayed stumps and buried wood of deciduouis trees. Common and widespread throughout.
The morning sun is shining, the birds are singing from beyond high boughs, and fallen autumn leaves crunch under foot as I walk along the narrow, meandering woodland path. Beneath an aged Sweet Chestnut tree I spot such a magical minature world of wonder.
There is hardly any light, and what little light there is it is fairly diffuse beneath the canopy of woodland trees. And yet here they grow from the hollow of the tree, a world of fungi, this species named Sulphur Tuft.
I have been itching to get out into the woods all week to try to track down some fungi to photograph, but with work and the rapidly diminishing afternoon light it has not been possible until this afternoon. I ventured into a local Beech wood which I always enjoy walking through, and growing out of a fallen giant was this most beautiful Porcelain Fungus.
This is one of the great attractions of Beech woods in the autumn. Sometimes called the ‘Poached Egg Fungus’, the cap is slimy and translucent, giving the impression it is made out of porcelain. It is white or ivory in colour, greyish when young, and grows up to 10cm across The gills are white, and the slender stem has a prominent ring.
Found July to October in groups or clusters on dead or dying broadleaved trees, especially Beech. Common and widespread.
This grows to be quite a large species of mushroom, beginning with an egg-shaped cap expanding into a large flat cap with a large central umbo (bump). It has a pale-buff brown surface with radiating scales. Snake skin patternation on stem with moveable ring as it ages which is a distinguishing feature. Cap Width up to 30cm. Stem Height up to 30cm.
Seen ummer to late autumn, and found in woodland clearings, fields, meadows, roadsides and grassy hillsides. Frequent to common, and quite widespread.
Before you begin to look through these colourful and fantastic forms of fungi, I would like to state I am no expert on identification and will not be making any reference to their edibility or inedibility, so please, if you see any of these out in the wild do not pick them or eat them without consulting a specialist, ideally a mycologist, an expert in the field. Some species of fungi can be extremely poisonous, and even deadly, especially as some people may be allergic to some forms. So hey, do not touch but enjoy their beauty and their wonder!
Most folk think that you may only be able to see a mushroom or a toadstool in the autumn months, but in fact they maybe observed all year round. The fungi are always there even if you cannot see the fruiting body; a large portion of it remains underground or within the growth mass, rotting wood for example. Environmentally they are of great importance for they are nature’s recyclers, breaking down the dead and dying, and releasing their nutrients back into the earth so that others species may thrive.
Fungi are recognised as completely different to animals and plants, and are scientifically classified having their own separate kingdom simply named ‘Fungi’. Unlike plants, fungi do not manufacture their food via photosynthesis, and cellulose is replaced in them with chitin. They digest their food externally and absorb it. Fungi reproduce by releasing tiny spores into the atmosphere via fruiting bodies. Some fungi reproduce asexually, by simple cell division, whilst others have asexual and sexual stages. Sexual reproduction involves the fusion of hyphae, the long white mass of tendrils which penetrates the feeding mass and is hidden from everyday view.
We as humans consume fungi in the yeast in our breads, beers and wines, in cheeses, and also in the form of penicillin.
Wood & Woodland Fungi
Here we have species commonly found growing on dead or living wood in woodland, forests, parks, and basically where there are any number of trees, whether deciduous, or coniferous. Some of these species are parasites, which feed off the living tree, some of which do not harm the tree, but others may kill it. Those that feed off their host without harming it are but weak parasites which only consume the nutrients they require, and are biotrophic species, most of which are unable to feed on dead, decaying wood. Those fungi that do harm and kill the host tree can usually feed off the dead wood also, and these are called necrotrophic fungi. Saprophytic fungi feed off the dead wood of trees, whether standing, fallen or buried, or used in man-made constructions. Some may appear parasitic, but maybe just feeding off the dead parts of a tree.
Despite this talk of parasitism, these are few compared to the many that mutually benefit the well-being of the woodland environment. To put it simply, trees and fungi rely on each other for their healthy survival, and this symbiont relationship is important for all life species of the woodland habitat.
Grass & Grassland Fungi Our areas of grass and grassland, whether they are pastures, meadows, moors, hills and mountains, parkland, road verges, or even our own garden lawns, are a rich environment for many species of fungi to thrive in. In fact, each species of grass cannot live without fungi, and vice-versa. It is the same symbiotic partnership as woodland fungi has with the trees. Even on our coasts, fungi grow amid the clifftop grasses and those of the sand dunes.
Bracket & Crust Fungi Bracket and crust fungi come in various shapes, patterns and colours, and can be quite magnificent to see. Most feed on dead or dying trees, or rotting stumps, but some are also parasitic.
If you are interested you can find more information and images of individual species via the ‘Fungi‘ link.
Also called the ‘Clouded Agaric’, the cap of this mushroom becomes generally flatter and only slightly depressed in the centre, at most with a shallow umbo. Variable colouration, but usually in shades of beige or grey, often with a darker centre. It is often covered in a white bloom. Cap width up to 20cm. Stem height up to 10cm.
Seen late summer to late autumn. Found in deciduous or coniferous woods, often in rings or troops. Common and widespread.
Quite a variable mushroom, the cap white or sometimes creamy yellow, and remaining in the button stage for quite a long period. The gills are deep pink, finally darkening to brown. The cap can grow up to 10cm across, and the stem up to 10cm tall.
It can be seen late summer to autumn. A familiar mushroom of pastures, particularly those grazed by cattle. Found clustered, sometimes massed, in grassland of all types. Widespread and fairly common.
A tiny species which grow in large troops producing bell-like caps. These caps are whitish and deeply pleated when young. As they age the flesh becomes greyish with an ochre centre. Also known as Trooping Crumble Cap or Fairies’ Bonnets. Cap width up to 1.5cm. Stem height up to 4cm.
It fruits early spring until winter, and grows in dense clusters in the earth or on the wood at the base of fallen deciduous trees. Found in woodland, parks and gardens. Common and widespread.