On Tuesday 22nd October a group of people met on Tiptree Heath for a fungus foray led by Ian Rose of Colchester Natural History Society. It’s been a good year for fungi and we had high hopes of finding a good array of specimens. Ian was hoping to find a Death Cap. In this we were unsuccessful, but we found lots of different samples, some edible, some deadly. At the end we displayed our finds on a paste table for Ian to pick over and discuss.
I can’t remember the names so will just post some of the photos I took. I was interested in the edibility of some of them, particularly the parasol mushrooms, which I thought I had recognized the other day but which I was too scared to eat.
There were earth balls and small puffballs. Earth balls, when cut in half, are hollow, whereas puffballs are solid. I thought I’d try these but in the end didn’t like the smell of them so only ate the parasols. One type is better than the other – the one with the zigzag markings at the bottom. The others can cause gastric upsets.
My kids were appalled when I ate the parasol caps sliced and fried, and said they had 999 on speed dial.
There’s one photograph of the puff ball puffing spores, which I like.
Ian told us that nowadays with the increase in interest in eating fungi, gangs of collectors are going through woods like a search party, grabbing everything and taking it to the boss who sorts and discards anything unusable. although these are only the fruiting bodies, these gatherers are indiscriminate and are causing a lot of damage to the environment.
In addition to which, foraging is supposed to be for our own use, not commercial use.