Bradford Botany Group

Fungal Foray

13th October 2013

 

 

Twelve of us came together under a cloudy grey sky ready to find fungi with cameras at the ready. Steve Joul, our leader for the day introduced us to Post Hill, a Local Nature Area which is one of 120 around the city of Leeds. It is an area of ancient woodland and is maintained by a friends group. Steve bought along a basket and sharp knife with which to collect the mushrooms, as well an extensive list of fungi with English common names with which to identify some of the 13,000 different types of fungi in this country.

 

As we headed up the track we found the familiar tar spot on sycamore leaves, and we soon came across candle snuff, its white actively growing parts shoot spores out. We learnt that there are two main groups of fungi “shooters” and “droppers”. This describes the way in which the fruiting bodies release their spores. Other common species seen were blushing bracket on elder, black leg polypore on elder and sulphur tuft on elder. On willows we saw jelly ear, fairy ink cap and blushing bracket.

One of the most fascinating things I find with botany and the study of fungi is the great number of descriptive words. A new word today was resupinate which means flat and was used to describe the hairy curtain crust fungus.

 

We ate lunch under an area of young trees, out of the drizzle. This also proved to be the most fruitful area for fungi, with buttercap under both birch and rowan and the miller, so called because it smells of flour, but it was commented that a lot of other mushrooms also smell of flour! This mushroom is edible but it must be correctly identified as it can easily be confused with other toxic ones.

 

As well as fungi we also came across some really attractive spangle galls and red and green cherry galls on oak leaves.

 

Further along we discovered honey fungus on hazel and turkey tails on an ash tree. Honey fungus is one of the few fungi to live on living trees.

 

As we made our way back along the beck, the drizzle stopped and blue sky appeared. In a grassy area we found collared parachute and ergot on couch grass. Our attempts to find the colourful fly agaric were in vain, but we still felt we had seen and photographed an interesting range of fungi thanks to Steve’s enthusiasm and knowledge.

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