Find fungi in the Gunby grounds
During autumn you can discover many interesting fungi in the gardens and grounds. You're welcome to photograph them, but please don't pick or eat any. Can you spot as many as Gunby's volunteer photographers have?
Pine sulphur tuft
The sulphur tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) grows in dense clusters in various habitats, but is commonly found in Gunby's woodland. It thrives on tree stumps and other dead wood of beech, oak, hazel and pine trees between September and November. Sulphur tuft has a cap of 2 to 7cm across with a convex shape. Its colour is bright sulphur yellow changing to an orange tan towards the centre of the cap. The thin stem is often curved and can be up to 10cm long.
As you might expect from its english name, the drab bonnet (Mycena aetites) is a dull little mushroom and easily missed. It appears where, like at Gunby, cropped grassland is not treated with high doses of herbicides, insecticides or fertilisers. The specific name aetites may refer to the aetites or aetite, a stone called an eagle-stone. Seen from above these little mushrooms could be mistaken for small stones, but probably not by an eagle!
Pluteus leoninus, commonly known as lion shield, can be found growing on dead wood in the Gunby grounds. The underside of the cap is typical of the genus Pluteus: the gills are pale, soon becoming pink when the spores ripen, but the upper surface is a bright tawny or dusky yellowish green colour. The species gets its name leoninus (meaning leonine) because of the yellow colour of its cap.
With its exceptionally long stem this woodland fungus is a very stately mushroom indeed, and it is often seen at Gunby in large numbers, either in arcs or even complete fairy rings, sometimes many metres in diameter. The trooping funnel is one of the few large mushrooms that can survive mild frosts, and so specimens are sometimes seen standing right through to late December. The latin name for trooping funnel is Clitocybe geotropa.
Fairy ink cap
The fairy ink cap, Coprinellus disseminatus, rarely ventures forth alone or even with just a few friends; more often it forms dense masses swarming over Gunby's rotting tree stumps and roots. These gregarious little fungi occur from early spring until the onset of winter, and they are at their most spectacular when the caps are young and pale - sometimes nearly pure white. It takes just two or three days for young white caps to turn grey and then begin blackening.
Shaggy ink cap
The shaggy ink cap (Coprinus comatus), lawyer's wig, or shaggy mane, is a common fungus often seen growing on Gunby's lawns, along gravel roads and waste areas. The young fruit bodies first appear as white cylinders emerging from the ground, then the bell-shaped caps open out. The caps are white, and covered with scales; this is the origin of the common names of the fungus. The gills beneath the cap are white, then pink, then turn black and secrete a black liquid filled with spores (hence the 'ink cap' name).
This mushroom is unusual because it will turn black and dissolve itself in a matter of hours after being picked or depositing spores.