Last year Alan found a collybioid species in Whipsnade Zoo butterfly house which he tentatively identified with reservations as Gymnopus inodorus. Feeling that it was not quite right for that, he asked Geoffrey Kibby about it on the basis that Geoffrey might perhaps have seen something similar at Kew. Geoffrey responded "Your Gymnopus resembles a species which turns up at Kew regularly and which we have decided is a tropical species called G. multijuga. I will be writing this up as a profile fairly soon in Field Mycology so you can read about it there”. It is of course new for Beds.
Fungus Identification Group
We are a local fungi recording group affiliated to the British Mycological Society. We have about 30 members with a wide range of experience and skills, but who share a particular interest in fungi and foraying for fungi.
Some of us have microscopes and reference books to help with identification, some like to photograph fungi and others prefer to enjoy looking at, and sometimes putting a name to, fungi in the field.
Although some of us enjoy eating fungi, as a group this is not our focus. We are also mindful that our forays are often on private land, having obtained permission from the land owner. In these cases picking for eating is often not allowed.
We are always pleased to see newcomers. If you ever wanted an answer to the question "What are fungi?", you couldn't come to a better group. Why not come along to a foray and see what we do? We are happy to welcome new members at all levels of expertise, including children accompanied by an adult. (But if you want to bring a dog, you should check with the leader beforehand.)
Thinking About Eating Fungi? Heed This Warning
There are many types of fungi which can be eaten safely, but there are also some extremely poisonous species. There is NO simple method by which poisonous species can be distinguished from edible ones.
It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that unfamiliar fungus specimens should NOT be eaten, unless they have been identified carefully and with absolute certainty by a competent mycologist. Even with familiar species it is important to ensure material is fresh and in good condition if it is to be eaten.
Sarcoscypha austriaca can be found any time between November and April. It likes wet conditions and especially alder / willow carr, and is apparently not worried by snow or frost. This photo was taken some years back by Alan Outen at Oughton Head, Herts.
Skeletocutis amorpha on an old conifer log at Stockgrove Park. From the top this looked unremarkable, rather like a Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor) but underneath the pores bruised a striking orange. The Basidio checklist says "Common and widespread. Easily recognised especially if the pore surface has developed the distinctive apricot-orange colouration", and I am thinking I have probably overlooked it many a time, mistaking it for Trametes; so worth looking carefully at any small brackets on fallen conifer.
We found my very favourite fungus at Waterford Heath on 26 November - The Goblet (Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis), a beautiful, elegant speciality of late autumn / winter; photo by Claudi.
We found a pretty little Mycena, M. arcangeliana (Angels bonnet) at Heartwood Forest a couple of weeks ago. This fungus sometimes has a slight yellow-green look to the cap (not visible in these specimens), but the characteristic a hint of violet in the stipe is apparent. Photo by Claudi.
The well-named Felt Saddle, Helvella macropus, found at Whippendell Wood at the end of September (photo by Alison)
Chanterelles seem to be having a good year in Herts. As well as the slightly more common Horn of Plenty (Cratellerus cornucopioides), at Northaw Great Wood we found the Sinuous chanterelle Pseudocraterellus sinuosus, which is similar but more frilly (photo by Claudi).
We had an enjoyable meeting at Sherrards Park Wood on 17 September, where the highlight for me was seeing the 2 parasitic fungi on Russula nigricans (Blackening brittlegill) - Asterophora parasitica (Silky piggyback) and Asterophora lycoperdoides (Powdery piggyback). Alison took a great photo of the latter.
At our meeting at Gobions Wood on 10 September, we found the small but strong-smelling fungus Phleogena faginea (Fenugreek puffball). I have a dried specimen several years old, and it still retains its strong smell.