Try a fungi foray
What British wildlife springs to mind when you think of autumn? Surely, it has to be fungi?
THERE ARE around 15,000 types found in the UK. Some of them are very large, some very small, some are smelly, others are oozy.
But not only are they completely fascinating to look at, they are also really vital for our health as many are important sources of food and medicine.
They also change people’s lives. Lots of medicines, like antibiotics, are based on chemicals that are found in fungi.
Lots of fungi have symbiotic relationships with the roots of the trees or plants that they grow next to. This means that both the fungus and the plant benefit and it happens when the fungus grows around the roots of the plant, passing on water and minerals that the plant might not easily be able to get. In return, the fungus gets carbohydrates which they need to be able to survive.
Here’s a guide to a few you might spot this season.
No guide to common British fungi would be complete without this. The fly agaric is our most recognisable toadstool – if you love fairy tales then you must be familiar with it. You’ll know this one when you see it: its red cap and white warts are unmistakeable. DID YOU KNOW? It’s known as the glückspilz or lucky mushroom in Germany.
This is a pretty little fungus that you can find growing most commonly in grasslands. As well as its beautiful pale pink colour, it’s usually identified by its peaked cap. However, as it ages the cap becomes flatter and the edges flick up. DID YOU KNOW? Also known as ‘The Ballerina’ due to its tutu-like edges.
This colourful jelly fungus can be found growing on decaying conifer wood, so look closely. Its colour is so strong that if the woodland is dark enough it can appear to glow. It gets its common name from its branches, which look a little like antlers. DID YOU KNOW? The branches of this fungus are slimy to the touch.
HORN OF PLENTY
You’ll have to look very carefully to see the horn of plenty, as they blend in very easily with leaf litter on the woodland floor. They particularly like growing near moss, so look out for dark areas on the ground. DID YOU KNOW? Another name for this fungus is ‘trumpet of the dead’.
Never pick and eat wild mushrooms unless you are with a qualified expert who has told you it is safe.
You can support the work by joining your local WildlifeTrusttoday.Visit www.norfolkwildlifetrust. org.uk or go to www.wildlifetrusts.org to choose the trust you would like to join.