In Search of Fungi

Autumn is the time when the greatest number of fungi can be seen. In my local area fungi can be seen at Chatelherault Country Park and New Lanark.

On a walk round Chatelherault today I spotted seven types of fungi and hopefully I will see more before the winter months arrive.

A Word of Caution on Fungi

Although not all fungi are poisonous, it is not advisable to eat any fungi which are found while out walking unless you are 100% sure they are safe to eat.

What are Fungi?

Fungi are members of a large group of eukaryotic organisms which includes microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria.

One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. The study of fungi is known as mycology.

Fungi at Chatelherault

Amanita Muscaria
Amanita Muscaria

Amanita Muscaria

Is an easily recognised toadstool coloured red with white spots. It is about 8cm in diameter and poisonous and grows beside deciduous and coniferous trees.

It is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties and was used as an intoxicant by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures.

Amanita Rubescens

Amanita rubescens is a common species through out the UK and it

Amanita rubescens
Amanita rubescens

grows under several different species of tree, including birch, oak, beech and pine. It is often one of the first of the autumn species to appear and is mostly recorded from August – October. It is between 5-15cm in diameter.

It is not one of the deadly Amanitas but it does contain haemolytic compounds which break up red blood cells and cause damage in the human body.

Russula cyanoxantha

Russula cyanoxantha
Russula cyanoxantha

This is an edible mushroom and is often called ‘charcoal burner’ as its colour resembles that of a charcoal burner. It was designated “Mushroom of the Year” in 1997 by the German Association of Mycology.

It has weak gills, which feel greasy to the touch and are flexible and do not break. The cap is 4–15 cm (1.5–6 in) wide and the colours vary from  greenish to bright brown. It is found in forests  from May to November, with the highest concentration in July to September.

Cantharellus cibarius

Cantharellus Cibarius
Cantharellus Cibarius

The chantrelle is an easy mushroom to identify but it can be tricky to find as it hides under thick undergrowth. It has the colour of apricots and has caps which are often wavy and concave or even trumpet-shaped.

It is an edible fungi and is commonly found between summer to late autumn.

Melanoleuca melaleuca

Melanoleuca melaleuca
Melanoleuca melaleuca

An edible fungi with a dark-brown cap, found growing solitary or scattered on soil in open broadleaf woodland or in grass near trees.

It has a cap diameter of between 30-80mm and is common in summer and autumn.

The gills are white at first but soon turn yellowish-pinkish to pale tan. They have a strong odor, somewhere between sweet and mealy.

Ganoderma resinaceum

Ganoderma resinaceum is a rare fungus which is found throughout the year.

Ganoderma resinaceum
Ganoderma resinaceum
It starts out as a yellow colour but as the fruiting body ages, this beautiful fungus turns black and can then be mistaken for the Hoof Fungus, Fomes fomentarius.

The photograph here is of an old and unattractive fungus. It was growing on a fallen branch of a tree and is poisonous.

Stropharia semiglobata

Stropharia semiglobata
Stropharia semiglobata

An attractive small yellow slimy fungi of 2 to 3 cm in diameter and common from spring to autumn.

Commonly known as the Dung Roundhead, because of its cap shape and habitat preference for pasture land.

It was found growing in a field adjacent to the path through Chatelherault. It is poisonous.

I will be on the look-out for more fungi and will go to New Lanark as Clavulinopsis helvola, Ramaria stricta and many of the Agarics can be seen there.

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