Fungi spotting at Sudbury Hall
Autumn is the best time to go mushroom spotting, as they depend on moist conditions to feed, grow and reproduce.
The gardens at Sudbury Hall are home to many wonderful species of fungi, from delicate closed cap mushrooms, to larger bracket fungi. Although a number of fungi can be harmful to trees, such as Honey Fungus, many are very beneficial to the tree or other type of plant, with some having a symbiotic relationship with the tree.
These are the Mycorrhizal fungi, pictured at the base of one of our Red Oak trees. A very special relationship is formed between the host plant and the Mycorrhizal fungi, with the fungi actually penetrating the roots of the plant, allowing a mutually beneficial exchange to take place. The fungus obtains sugars that the plant produces and in return, provides the plant with vital nutrients that it extracts and transports from the soil.
The mushrooms we see above ground are just a small part of the fungus. These fruiting bodies, act as the reproductive part of the organism, enabling the mushroom to spread its spores and reproduce. Beneath the soil, the fungal roots can travel for miles underground.
Sudbury Hall is a late 17th-century house, but fungi can live for thousands of years, making them ancient organisms. Take some time to discover the hidden things growing in our grounds this autumn.