As the week passed on leading up to Saturday, the need for a trip out of the city in that same old cliché way was much-needed. Not just any woods, but Sherwood forest. I’ve been quite a few times and for the same reason as many others perhaps, to stand in amazement at the ancient and veteran oaks in all their glory and guess at possible ages for each of the giants. It was all about the fungi on Saturday because for the most part I have missed the sudden bloom of fruiting bodies from every kind of nook and crevice in recent years.
It was apparent as soon as we walked into the woods that I had not missed the start of ‘fungi-time’, they we’re all over the place and growing from everywhere imaginable. Me and ma’ lady criss crossed our way along the rides searching on each side amongst the grass, deadwood and leaf litter. Many stood out from a mile off but others showed themselves when you were least expecting it.
While walking around the woods we stumbled across the grazing scheme and some very nice looking English Longhorns. An old and stunning breed that always appears dozy and half asleep, along with the great horns poking from the sides of its head whats not to like?
Now the fungi. I’ll tell you what I learned about identifying fungi first. They are hard, very time-consuming and also very hard. I need more equipment including chemicals I’ve not even looked at yet, some drying thing if I want to collect them to study which due to most of the fungi is recommended for any kind of accurate identification. I think I’ll have to build this up and just get my ‘head around’ the families and common ones.
13 new species have been added with the bonus that 2 of those came from me finding a picture of them already in my Life file. The new introductions are;
Galerina laevis – 703
Common Earth Ball – 704
Oak Milk Cap – 705
Oak Mildew – 706
Chicken of the Woods – 707
Beef Steak – 708
Yellow Field Cap – 709
Common Stink Horn – 710
Dusky Puff Ball – 711
Tawny Grisette – 712
I’ve chosen a few that stood out from the rest, the ones that I’ll be able to recognise immediately if/when I seen them again. Firstly the brilliantly named beef steak fungi. I noticed it while photographing the chicken of the woods growing out of a very old oak tree. The little red fruiting body clung on not more than 4 ft from the ground and as soon as I saw it I had a good guesstimate at what it was.
The phallus in the woods… it stunk, it looked disgusting and it was crawling with flies. Yeah OK, as you can see from the picture, it’s aptly named Phallus impudicus, or common stinkhorn. I’ve been wanting to see (and smell) this for a while and finally I had my chance, slowly I moved in for the photo and to get a whiff or its disgusting foul reek. My nose clogged up with what can only be described as death and it was death from about 3 – 4 meters away. Disgusting and crawling with flies attracted to the stench. I backed off and cleared my nose with a few outward snorts. Ticked, ponked, move away quickly. Surprisingly I couldn’t get my girlfriend to move in for a go on its pong.
Speared on by the masses of fruiting bodies kicking about in the forest, I decided to take a stroll around the graveyard on Sunday. Straight away the sight of a huge bracket tempted me in. Clinging to a giant beech and spreading along the ground, presumably following its roots, was an orange fungi.
713 – Giant Polypore, Meripilus giganteus. Easy enough to ID unlike 99% (I’m guessing, don’t quote me) all fungi. Notorious for growing on beech and due to its size I could count pretty much everything else out.
The two I found whilst sorting out the photographs of the already listed fungi are,
King Alfred’s Cakes – 714
Hoof Fungus – 715
I forgot to mention something else I learnt about fungi, until you have the stuff just switch the moth trap on at night instead. Yeah, i’ll moth trap in the next few days and get my teeth stuck into something I have the means of identifying.