Small Woodland Owners' Group

Fungi Foray

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Fungi Foray

Postby oldclaypaws » Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:43 pm

Following on from an evening talk, myself and Mrs Paws spent a soggy couple of hours today wandering round a friends wood with TV expert and fungi author Michael Jordan, Chair of the ABFG. He's also eager to have a tramp round our wood at some point as he lives in the area. That'll be very interesting, he can verify my 'Death Caps', or not. It'll be good to know if we have anything rare and add it to our species record, all the flora is documented but not the fungi.

He's very good at Latin names and reels them off easily- not so easy to remember as the common names. He also is a great advocate for not eating wild mushrooms, and has various horror stories of people who've died or been seriously poisoned when making picking errors, such as author Nicolas Evans, whose family suffered a mass fatal poisoning after eating deadly webcaps, mistaken for Chanterelles. I suspect he lays this on a bit thick, as he generally disapproves of picking wild mushrooms to eat, seeing this as a threat to their survival. This and habitat loss are the biggest threats he sees to fungi. He was somewhat dismissive of the mentality that the countryside is full of delicious free easy to identify mushrooms, and of certain day courses which charge £100+ for a days foraging, advertising that by the end of the day you'll be able to distinguish delicious edible species from others. Some edible species and dangerous ones are apparently very similar to all but expert eyes. Many people can also have violent allergic reactions to common 'edible' species, he once witnessed an accidental poisoning of a number of journalists who had a bad reaction to Chicken of the Woods. 3 Counties fungi, a local group Michael is an active member of, charge a token £3 for their foray trips.

Best thing to do to encourage fungi is deadwood and a biodiversity strategy. Another chap who was with us from the Blackdown Hills AONB group, Charles Hill, told us about the many amazing properties of Turkey Tail fungi; it has many health benefits and can be used for clearing toxins out of soil.

Our group got a bit demoralised as the heavens opened, and fungi pickings were generally thin, its a bit early in the season still after a dry autumn, but we did find about 15 species to show him, all of which he knew and enthused about. Perhaps the most interesting and spectacular and a new one to me was a vivid bright blue-green species, I'd never have believed such colours existed naturally in an English woodland, it seemed quite Alien. Chlorociboria aeruginascens is commonly known as Green Elf Cup, and goes right through the wood, staining it an exotic colour.

Overall, a soggy but informative couple of hours which encourages a closer look at these forgotten but essential woodland species; the 'recyclers' of the forest.

blue stain.jpg
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Re: Fungi Foray

Postby Dexter's Shed » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:15 pm

I would love to learn more about fungi, as our woods have it growing everywhere, as per the video link.

although I doubt we would eat any of this, I did find an interesting clip on you tube showing it being made into parchment, now that I might try :D
Dexter's Shed
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Re: Fungi Foray

Postby oldclaypaws » Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:34 pm

The chap on this TV programme from 1989 is the same Michael Jordan who took us round the wood today. Quite an informative programme, although quite a slant towards hallucinogenic mushrooms.
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Re: Fungi Foray

Postby SitkaSpruce » Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:58 pm

we went on a fungal foray some time ago. really opened our eyes and we definitely notice fungi more when we are out walking. lots of the fungi were edible but "taste of soil" so unless you're really hungry... I'd also like help with a survey of our wood, we do get fly agaric cos of the birch trees but there are others I can't identify.
I love that green one.
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Re: Fungi Foray

Postby Herewardw » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:00 pm

Michael Jordan speak in this living world radio programme. He talks about impaction of soil from trampling from visitors compacts the ground and damages the mycelium, thus less fungi.

I was wondering is it better to have paths in the woodland to prevent damaging my wood from my trampling! However i like to keep a wild looks and explore. Paths make it more like a garden. What do you all think? Am I causing the decline of my wood?
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