Delicate inkcaps (Coprinus spp): there are around 100 species of the genus Coprinus in Britain, many of which can only be identified by microscopic features of young specimens.
I cannot seem to find anything in my books which resemble the second photo; I had imagined that the distinctive “Herringbone” pattern around the fringe of the cap would point the way to a positive ID, but no luck yet. If anybody has ideas then please let me know.
Dynamic duos: five fotos of fantastic fungal friendships.
Beautiful Snowdrops, a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.
The Death Of Autumn
When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like aged warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek,—
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again,—but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn! Autumn!—What is the Spring to me?
Beautiful words by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Denizens of sylvan places
Hidden from the eyes of man,
Courtesans with sylph-like graces
Dancing to the pipes of Pan -
That echoed through the ether
Notes that soured the wings of halcyon,
Songs to give our life the meaning
That we lack now they have gone.
Watch the pattern ever changing
In the tapestry of fate,
Weft and weave and interlacing
Silken strands that fabricate -
A cloak to fit both king and beggar,
Those who rule and those that toil
Are equalled in the fact that
All pay homage to this mortal coil.
Sabbat- Dreamweaver (1989)
Jellybabies (Leotia lubrica). I saw a couple of nice pictures of these guys on the blog of breadndbutterflies which inspired me to dig out these pics. Hers had a greener head then mine, which could mean they are Leotia viscosa. Check them out, very nice pics. Mushroomexpert.com and first-nature.com both have informative write ups on these, well worth a browse.
Fishing for oysters: as a fungi fancier I spend much of my time crawling around the forest floor, rooting in leaf litter and stepping in filth which is best left unspoken of here. In many respects it is all part of the fun and often the rewards make it all worth while; sometimes the reward is a new species, only previously encountered in books or other wonderful Tumblrian blogs, the stuff of legend or dreams (yes dreams, I know it’s sad). Often it is getting reacquainted with old friends, whose first sighting of the season fills the mycophiles heart to bursting. All good healthy fun, designed to recharge the spiritual batteries.
On occasion, it is possible to find mushrooms which have forsaken the forest floor to live amongst the stars! I spotted these Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing on the rotting trunk of an old Beech which had clearly seen better days. Tiny they were, no bigger than a toddlers little finger, not yet ripe for harvest. For the next couple of weeks I returned to the tree, hoping that no fiendish fungi filcher had spotted my prize, my precious.
Sleepless nights were the order of the day (so to speak) as I imagined other fungi hunters hatching dastardly plans to harvest my bountiful bonanza. You see, the Oyster is one of my favourite mushrooms to eat. It has a delightfully delicate flavour, lightly cooked or raw. Wild finds are rare for me so I was keen to get these beauties in my basket.
Lady Luck it seems was smiling down upon me and my quarry, which had remained unmolested, was soon ripe for harvest. The next problem I had was actually reaching them, I wasn’t blessed in the height department and all but the lowest were too high for trusty Stick. I didn’t want to risk shinnying up the tree as it was too rotten and may have fallen over. Reinforcements were called up in the form of Henry and Martin Drum. Henry has and extendable pole used for harvesting fruit and other such goodies. A kitchen knife attached with good old sticky tape and we were in business. Soon enough the majority of the wonderful oysters were in our baskets, yay!
Sadly, the ending to my tale cannot be considered entirely happy though. Many of the mushrooms contained resident wrigglies so had to be discarded. I don’t begrudge them their meal really, live and let live is my motto. The ones I managed to salvage were truly tasty, so I was happy enough.
So next time you are out in the woods don’t forget to look up as well as down, you never know what treats await.
Despite the fact it is nearly Christmas, the sun still continues to shine. Here are some recent views of the two Severn bridges, which span the Bristol Channel. These were taken whilst out foraging salad leaves along the foreshore. There were even some Velvet Shanks (Flammulina velutipes) growing on a driftwood log, sadly though the pictures were terrible.
Still lots of beautiful Waxcaps to be found, clearly enjoying the unseasonal early winter sunshine we are experiencing here in South Wales. These are Crimson Waxcaps (Hygrocybe punicea), which are found nestled amongst short grass in fields and heathlands. These were found in the lawn of a local nursing home where we have permission to forage. Despite their bright colouring they can prove remarkably difficult to spot, especially if there is leaf litter scattered around. Tread carefully and slowly lest your quarry be squished underfoot. As with many of the Waxcaps, these colourful chaps are edible
Beautiful Blewits! Although these Blewits were found on the fringes of a field, they are in fact Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) and not Field Blewits (Lepista saeva). Blewits are saprophytes, which means they live on decaying matter. As such, these tasty mushrooms are to be found in nutrient rich habitats such as compost or thick woodland litter, which is often still attached to the base of the mushroom after picking. Blewits are a wonderful mushroom to find, although in deep leaf litter they can prove very elusive, so a good old rummage with your trusty stick may be necessary.
Once found, photographed and checked for resident critters, Blewits make a hearty meal. Most books will tell you that they need to be cooked prior to consumption because of a compound they contain which can cause tummy upsets, so beware.
Good luck and happy Blewit hunting.