A little look at fungi

A little look at fungi


Posted 9th October


Image courtesy of © Philip Precey

Did you know there are more than 15,000 species of fungi that are believed to exist in the United Kingdom?

That's five times as many species as there are vascular plants, ensuring fungi make up an entire kingdom of their own, separate from both plants and animals. Their diversity is stupendous, with every habitat home to a great variety of fungi, the majority of which will have truly wonderful names – for instance Chickens of the woods and King Alfred's cakes, pink ballerinas and scarlet elf cups, blewits and boletes.

Fungi not only include many delicious wild mushrooms, but also some of our most poisonous varieties, which are aptly named species as the sickener, poison pie, death cap and the destroying angel.

Autumn is the best time to explore this little-visited world - you could be surprised by just how many species you find.

How to do it

One thing you should never do it eat any fungi unless you are 100 per cent certain about their identity. Unless you are with an expert, it's best to leave mushrooms where you find them - that way others can appreciate their beauty. There will be many local Wildlife Trusts that run 'fungal foray' events, during the year. V

If you can't get to the special places listed below, fungi will grow in every habitat, and you won't have to go to a nature reserve to find your first toadstool. There are likely to be several species in your garden as it is. Encourage the fungi to grow by leaving logs and branches to rot, and then wait to see what arrives - in the process you'll help beetles too.

Special spots

Slimy, but colourful, the beautiful waxcap fungi adorn grasslands every autumn at Burfa Bog near Presteigne, Powys. Around 20 species of this group of fungi have been recorded here, making it one of the most important places in Europe for this group of organisms.

Antrim, Slievenacloy

Cumbria

Powys, Dolforwyn Woods

Suffolk, Knettishall Heath

Surrey, Sheepleas

Worcestershire, Monkwood

Yorkshire, Grass Wood

Text and information courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts





Related articles
Posted Friday

Get creative with leftover wax

Get creative with leftover wax


Posted Friday

Our upland habitats

Our upland habitats


Posted Friday

Humans of the Waterway: Helen

Humans of the Waterway: Helen


Posted Thursday

The secret to the perfect cup of tea

The secret to the perfect cup of tea