Flour­ish­ing fungi

Lancashire Life - - DAYS OUT -

With car­pets of damp fallen leaves and rot­ting dead­wood cov­er­ing wood­lands, au­tumn is the time when fungi of all shapes and sizes thrive. The

Lan­cashire Wildlife Trust’s Molly Toal ex­plores the mush­room king­dom

If you go down to the woods to­day you’ll find fungi ev­ery­where. Pok­ing out from un­der your feet, pro­trud­ing from tree trunks and even in wa­ter, the fun­gal world comes alive in au­tumn, and one of the best places to ex­plore it in Lan­cashire is Mere Sands Wood in Ruf­ford.

This beau­ti­ful reserve is made up of broad-leaved and conif­er­ous wood­lands, mead­ows and lakes. It boasts a huge va­ri­ety of wildlife and is a great place to visit all year round, with rar­i­ties such as red squir­rels, wa­ter voles and wil­low tits mak­ing their home on site. In au­tumn, though, Mere Sands Wood is known for its flour­ish­ing fungi.

Fungi are nei­ther plants nor animals, in­stead they be­long to their own king­dom. The mush­rooms (or toad­stools) that we see are ac­tu­ally the fleshy, fruit-like bod­ies pro­duced by fungi to re­lease spores for re­pro­duc­tion. Fungi get their nu­tri­ents and en­ergy from

Fly agaric, with its red cap, white spots and thick, white stem is wood­land fun­gus that grows un­der pines, spruces and birch trees and is often drawn with elves and pix­ies del­i­cately perched on top. It is even an emoji sym­bol.

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