It's been a good year for mushrooms...
The other day, I wrote a quick article concerning the difference between mushrooms and toadstools (none) and the importance difference between Fungi (which occasionally produce mushrooms) and mushrooms (all of which are part of a fungus).
When looking for photos to illustrate that article, it struck me how many mushrooms I've seen in the past couple of months.
First there was this one:
Then there were these ones - right - which I found later in the month, in a different garden.
I always suspect these orangey-coloured ones of being honey fungus: the official description of Honey Fungus mushrooms are that they are a warm golden colour, usually with a small, slightly darker bump on the very top.
They are usually shown as being flatter, more like an opened umbrella, but I know that mushrooms grow fast and change shape radically as they grow. This lot are all crammed together, so it's quite possible that they just haven't opened up yet.
They are growing on a piece of dead wood, in case you can't see, so they could be anything...
Then, a week later, I found this bunch in another garden (I get around, in case you hadn't noticed), and they have the darker tip, and the right shape, to be Honey Fungus, but they are a bit pale.
I know that, when you ask anyone to identify mushrooms, they always want photos from underneath, because the gills can be indicative, as can the presence or absence of a "collar", a fringe of material around the stem.
So I remembered to take a shot of the underside, just in case anyone can say "Aha! Yes! It's a Xxx" or even "Aha! It's definitely NOT a Xxx" because sometimes, knowing what something is not, is nearly as useful as knowing what it is.
Not quite as useful, but nearly.
We're into October now: on the 5th I found this lot, left: growing far too close to some bearded Iris which I had moved, earlier in the year.
I'd dug over that part of the bed quite thoroughly, so I have no idea why this clump of mushrooms decided to appear - it's unlikely that there's dead wood under the surface, because I dug it all over!
Nasty glossy looking things, aren't they?
Again, a shot of underneath, knowing that if I don't, someone will ask... and how horrible are these?
The stalks or stems look as though they have peeled open, like over-ripe bananas.
I know that there is no much point in trying to dig out mushrooms, per se: as we now know, the mycelium, the main part of the organism, is under the surface, and, iceberg-like, is a lot bigger than the bit we can see: and the mushrooms themselves appear, apparently at random, then quickly disappear.
But in this case, I ripped the whole lot out and put them on the bonfire pile, so they wouldn't spread their spores around, and so that I would not have to look at them any longer.
A fortnight later, I found this lot:
Large, eh? (Secateurs for Scale)
Great big, greyish, flat-topped things...
... and beautifully white underneath. Snow white!
This lot were growing in a lawn, for no apparent reason: just one clump of them, all alone.
So there you go, quite a selection of Fungi, all found in local gardens, over the past few weeks.
Presumably conditions have been "just right", so they all decided to fling up some fruiting bodies and spread their spores around.
Oh, and I nearly forgot, in December, there was this outbreak - left - of Bracket Fungus on a dead/dying Plum tree:
I have no idea exactly which Bracket Fungus it is, but I'm pretty sure it's one of them.
It will be interesting to take another look at that tree, when I return to work, to see how much the fungus has extended over the winter - or whether the whole tree is dead, by now!
And now, for my final item on this list, we have a Blue Mushroom.
Blue Mushroom, I hear you say?
Yes - blue!
Some years, back, a small batch of these delicate things popped in a shrubbery, in one of "my" gardens, and I went rushing inside to show the Client.
"Ah yes," she said. "We get those, every so often. Mr Client loves them, he'll eat them."
I was horror-struck: they were blue! Surely that was a bad sign? But no, ten minutes later, Mr Client was out there with me, harvesting every blue mushroom we could find, and then heading kitchen-wards.
He cooked them, and offered me a taste. I declined. He ate the lot. That was in 2014, and he was still alive last year, so I guess he was correct - but I still wouldn't choose to eat them myself!
And finally, the obligatory warning: unless you are VERY VERY SURE about your fungus ID, do not eat anything which you find growing in your garden or in the wild.
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