When the evenings draw in and the leaves begin to change on the trees, it’s time to get wrapped up and go on a search for fungi. There are hundreds of different sorts of fungi, from the very common to the quite rare, and from the edible to the poisonous.
Why do fungi exist, you may ask
The important part of a fungus, the mycelium, lives underground and is vital for woodland health as they recycle nutrients needed for living plants to thrive. However, in autumn the fungi start to grow and as these fruiting bodies ripen, their seeds, known as spores, are released into the air to start the next generation.
Where to look
Jackie Arrell, one of Springhill’s volunteers, has spent many hours searching all corners of the estate recording what lurks under leaves, in the leaf litter, amongst the grass on the lawns, and protruding from ancient tree trunks and deadwood.
He has discovered a wonderful array of fungal fruiting bodies in all shapes, sizes and colours with fantastically enigmatic names such as the Scarlet Elf Cup, the Jelly Ear, and the Shaggy Inkcap. Perhaps the most unique and beguiling fungi he has discovered is the fluted birds nest fungus, nestled in amongst the bark chip of the path, which would easily go un noticed by the passer by.
Visit Springhill this autumn and see if you can spot some of these fascinating fungi.
Enjoy your fungi foray…but please note it is recommended that people do not pick or touch fungi in the wild without expert guidance as species are hard to identify and many are poisonous.