Plants & animals

  • Fungal Forays

    Usually take place during September/October.

    If finding, learning about, picking and eating fungi and mushrooms is your thing, then keep your eyes peeled for our Fungal Forays with mycology expert, Doctor Gordon Beakes. Below are species you may come across...

  • Spend a day at Allen Banks to discover various species © Laura Jackson

    Giant puffball mushroom

    Visible from late summer to autumn.

    Often found in a large circle called a 'fairy ring', giant puffballs are saprotrophs - meaning they feed on dead organic matter. The giant puffball is an excellent edible species if collected when young and in good condition.

  • Coral fungi (Clavulinopsis corniculata) at Arlington Court © Murray Sharpe

    Yellow Staghorn

    Found during June to December.

    The Yellow Staghorn grows on dead and rotting coniferous stumps and logs, or appears to grow from the soil. They're harmless and edible although the rubbery texture may put you off.

  • Coral fungi (Clavulinopsis corniculata) at Arlington Court © Murray Sharpe

    Amethyst deceiver

    Common around mid-July to mid-December.

    Found on the ground in mixed woodland, the flavour of this lilac mushroom unfortunately isn't top-notch but the colour does gain some interest on a plate. Discard the stem before cooking.

  • Becasue of the damp and dark conditions, Honey Fungus loves living there © Laura Jackson

    Honey fungus

    Appear briefly on infected stumps in autumn.

    Honey Fungus spreads underground, killing the roots of perennial plants. It's the most destructive fungal disease in UK gardens. No plants are immune but few show resistance such as Taxus, Jugland nigra and Acer negundo.

  • Lycoperdon perlatum or Common puffball can be both culinary and medicinal © Laura Jackson

    Common puffball

    Fruits throughout the autumn, mainly September to November.

    Recognised by the shape of the fruit body, the common puffball can be found on soil or decayed wood, generally in deciduous woodland, occasionally on wood-chip mulch. It can be used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

  • Bisporella Citrina or Yellow Fairy Cup seen during a Fungal Foray © Laura Jackson

    Yellow fairy cup

    Visible during autumn and winter.

    Very common on decaying wood. Although individually tiny, these fungi often occur in large numbers and become quite conspicuous. The Latin name is Bisporella citrina, citrin meaning, 'lemon-yellow'.

  • Bisporella Citrina or Yellow Fairy Cup seen during a Fungal Foray © Laura Jackson


    Please do consult an expert to ensure any fungi or mushrooms you're planning to consume are safe to do so.