Fun with Fungus

A humble and simple lifeform; the fungus. The autumn colours of gold and amber high in the treetops are sympathetically mirrored on the ground which we walk. Fungi are fascinating and highly valuable members of the ecological cycle.

During a few mushroom walks in Stanfree, we have managed to capture a very small number to share with you. Identification quite often is difficult when so many of them look the same, even with the best guides.

I was almost caught up in a Near Miss; what looked and smelled to be a field mushroom, turned out to be a Yellow-staining mushroom (poisonous!). This only became noticeable when I started handling the fungi, bruising immediately turning yellow.

Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria) are, by far, my all-time favourite – for their eye-catching two-toned appearance and imaginative significance in tales of fairies and trolls.

Rings of tiny bonnets used to be common in fields this time of year, however, I haven’t observed a full fairy circle in over 10 years. Do we put this down to climate change, poor soil management, or is it just the case of not being in the right place at the right time?

There is a strong correlation between the habitat and species, quite often it has been researched that fungi communicate with trees in harmonic symbiosis – how wonderful and poetic. There are a few good books published by the Association – Fungi and Trees: Their Complex Relationships by Lynne Boddy and Fungi on Trees: A Photographic Reference by David Humphries and Christopher Wright – will undoubtedly make a huge contribution to our collective understanding of fungi and their relationships with trees.

“Oh, little fairy. Come sit upon my brow

Ponder all the goodness life has to trade

Strands underneath and my floating spores

A new-born me, as you see here and now

The visit is short. Share with me the shade

Of the tall trees above. I am all yours.”

Enjoy the Pics, Lots of Love from Stanfree Valley xx


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