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.