Six types of fungi to find in October
Ahead of UK Fungus Day on 12 October we asked Stuart Skeates from the British Mycological Society to introduces us to six species that can be spied out on a country ramble this month.
This classic toadstool of our imagination with its bright red cap and white spots is found growing with birch trees as the days draw in and autumn rains appear. It is one of many of our larger ‘mycorrhizal’ fungi that provide vital nutrients from the soil for the trees they grow with, in exchange for sugar by wrapping their underground network around the tree roots.
This beautiful fungus with its greenish yellow cap and white gills gives little hint of its deadly nature, no black and yellow stripes here! After eating, and they are reported to be quite tasty to eat, there may be a short episode of stomach upset followed a few days later by the symptoms of liver and kidney failure, eventually leading to death.
A relative newcomer to the UK that has been spreading across grassland in the south of England over the last half century surprising passers-by with its unearthly appearance. In addition the black slime emits a smell of rotting meat to attract flies which then spread the fungal spores picked up on their feet to new pastures. Human boots may well transfer it in the same way.
One of the last fungi to appear in the year, often surviving under snow, the velvet shank, which derives its name from the furry appearance of the bottom of the stem, can also be found in supermarkets – where its cultivated pale form is sold under the name of enokitake. Eating supermarket fungi is both safer for the consumer as well as being more environmentally friendly.
Found out more at www.ukfungusday.co.uk