Autumn for the Forest Ranger means, among other things, fungi. These strange and wonderful organisms never fail to fascinate us and I have spotted many interesting examples at Blackwood Forest this year.
Here are just a few I have photographed in the last two weeks – and for the “mycologists” out there, professional or amateur, I have also included some that I haven’t managed to identify. Leave a comment below if you can help.
The name is very descriptive. This bracket fungi is found on rotting stumps in broadleaved woods. It’s visible all year on some Blackwood Forest tree stumps.
Apart from being spectacular to look at, it's been proven in clinical trials to boost immunity in women treated for breast cancer.
This is the classic storybook toadstool and probably the most famous poisonous fungi. I found this in the birch woodland west of the Blackwood Forest Retreat.
Known for its hallucinogenic properties, its use by reindeer herders is rumoured to be the reason why reindeer fly! The "fly" in its name however probably comes from the practice of crushing it in milk to attract and kill flies.
Elfin Saddle - White Saddle - White Helvella
This spectacular mushroom (not safe to eat) has a number of names in addition to the Elfin Saddle I know it as. It’s recognisable by its irregular cap and ornately fluted stem, and often found in beech woodlands like Blackwood Forest.
Orange Peel Fungi
I found this cup fungi inches from the Blackwood Forest Retreat, on the disturbed ground by the main entrance. Its name is very descriptive as it does look like discarded orange peel from a distance. Whilst I think its edible, I can't see why anyone would want to eat it - it doesn't look appetising.
Can you identify these Fungi?
Here are a few of the more mysterious specimens that have been spotted at Forest Holidays locations recently and I am hoping that you can help me to identify them:
A. Spotted at Blackwood Forest
B. Spotted at Blackwood Forest
C. Spotted at Blackwood Forest
D. Spotted at Deerpark, Cornwall
I have loaded all my fungi photographs along with contributions from the other Forest Holidays Forest Rangers on Flickr. If you can identify any that we still haven’t labelled then please let us know via the Forest Holidays Facebook page.
Why not book a break with us at Blackwood Forest and I’ll take you out into the forest to identify and photograph some of these fantastic specimens. Hurry though because many of them will disappear below ground for another year soon!
Did you know?
- There is no scientific difference between a mushroom and a toadstool. Linguistically we tend to think of a mushroom as edible and a toadstool as poisonous but even this is not an evenly applied rule.
- Autumn is the best time to spot woodland fungi as wet, mild conditions cause them to fruit, which is the bit we see above the ground.