Fungi Foray at Clumber Park

On Saturday I was up bright and early for the Fungi Foray at Clumber Park. We’d seen the posters for it on our last visit and thought it was a bargain to learn more about fungi identification for only a fiver!

It was really quiet when we arrived on site, before the Saturday rush. The group met at their discovery centre which had loads of fungi on display as well as information boards. The team had put out microscopes, books and quizzes for us to try out before we left. The staff really stressed that we were going out to find specimens to identify, not to eat. Eating wild mushrooms can be a really dangerous game, even for the well trained!

It was great to see all of the specimens they had collected over the last few weeks. I definitely had my eye on the hoof fungus because it can be used as tinder!

We didn’t have to walk far to spot some interesting fungi. I’d actually already spotted the shaggy ink caps on the drive in. We were out for nearly three hours and barely strayed away from the main visitor centre! There are so many different types of fungi to be found when you are really looking for it. Vicky our guide was so informative and knowledgeable that I wish I could have absorbed all her knowlege in the few hours we had.

Below are some of my favourites with a couple of facts – the ones I remember! Click or hover over the pictures to match them to the name. I have included the edibility of each one by searching the names on various websites.

Blackening wax cap
This fungi was absolutely stunning in real life as it looks kind of like a rocket or a firework.
Edibility is still being questioned.

Ochre Brittlegill
We identified this one by pressing down on the gills which were really brittle, hence the name. You can also snap the stalk easily because it’s very chalk-like.
It is edible but a risky one. It needs to be thoroughly cooked and also resembles a toxic toadstool, yikes! 

Mycena Pura
I loved this one as it was so small, pink and beautiful. It also smells like earthy radishes.
Not edible, despite it’s lovely appearance.

Stinkhorn
This poor mushroom has a very interesting appearance. I learned that you can spot the sacs quite early and then the rest will grow unexpectedly in as little as four hours. Younger specimens are covered in a foul smelling substance (smells like rotting meat) to attract flies.
Various parts are edible and it also has medicinal properties.

Crimson Wax cap
I was on the hunt for a Fly Agaric when I spotted this beauty amongst the heather. I didn’t actually learn much about it but it’s pretty!
Edible.

Shaggy ink cap
For my portfolio I have looked at various ink caps to try and identify the fungi on my site so this one was most familiar! It’s quite easy to identify due to it’s shaggy cap.
Edible.

Now, my all time favourite fungi is the Fly Agaric. Everybody has seen these in story books and they are closely associated with fairies. An Eden Project story teller used to tell me all the Fly Agaric myths when I worked there. Despite it’s beautiful, distinctive appearance, this one is very poisonous!

Thank you to the Learning Team at Clumber Park for a fantastic morning!

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