Fungi spotting at West Runton and Beeston Regis Heath

The brightly red coloured cap of the fly agaric fungus

Autumn is a great time to spot a wide range of fungi. How many different types can you spot?

On heathland or the woodland floor you will see a variety of fungi emerging especially in a damp year. The massive networks of fungal mycelia in the leaf litter and topsoil are producing lots of fruiting bodies that produce reproductive spores.

They appear at astonishing speed.

Amongst the fungi you may spot are:-

The fly agaric

It is almost unmistakable, with its red or orange cap and cream/white spots.

This fungus is very commonly seen in woodland and heathlands.

For many people it is the archetypal  toadstool and looks like the ones pictured in children's books and nursery rhymes.

The common name stems from  the tradition of using this fungus as an insecticide. In some countries the caps are put into milk and any flies attracted die from the toxins that are dissolved from within the mushroom.

The brightly red coloured cap of the fly agaric fungus
The brightly red coloured cap of the fly agaric fungus

Earthballs

These are very common in the summer and autumn. They may well be spotted in damp woodland or heathland often in small groups.

They have no stem just a few threadlike "roots" and seem to grow straight out of the ground.

They are generally round  or potato shaped. They have a tough thick skin and are covered with irregular scales. They can be white, cream or yellow. As they age the skin can turn  ochre-brown or green 

Common earthball fungus
Common earthball fungus

 False chanterelles 

These closely resemble the much prized chanterelles.

They are yellow–orange with a funnel-shaped cap.

They are very common and are mainly found in woodlands (often coniferous woodlands) and on heathland and are usually found in groups.

False chanterelle
False chanterelle

Bracket fungus.

There are many types of bracket fungus. One that is common is the  turkey tail fungus.

It has a range of colours, browns, blues, greys and greens. However the edge is always creamy white.

It gets its common name from its fan shape and mix of colours that is seen to resemble the tail of a turkey.

Turkey tail fungus
Turkey tail fungus growing on  deciduous wood

But please remember that many species are poisonous.