Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Those Fungi

I promised myself that this would be the autumn in which fungi would NOT feature on this blog. It's not that they aren't interesting. In their way, with the rather mysterious manner in which they appear, often all alone, and their strange shapes and often brilliant colours, they are. It's just that identifying them - and I can't abide not knowing what something is - drives me mad. There are just so many and, although there is a helpful website - here - each specimen takes hours to find.

Then Mr O'Connor sent me this picture of some fungi apparently growing from the tarmac of the Queen's highway, and the resolution began to weaken.

It became more shaky when we found this old piece of bone rotting in damp grass, with a host of tiny and beautifully elegant fungi sprouting from its slimy, algal surface.

This was the another nail in the coffin of resolution, a toadstool with a strange growth on top, and a translucent white, almost waxy flesh, growing all by itself in a field.

Then there was this liver-coloured lobate job....

....and these shiny ones with their strange internal structures reminiscent of corrugated cardboard, and....

....this very pretty yellow one, precisely circular with a bump in the middle, and....

....this neat little group of startling, perfectly-formed scarlet ones.

So I gave up and published the pictures, but I'm NOT going to try to identify them. I'm not. It spoils the enjoyment of their beauty.

Well, perhaps I'll have a go at one or two. The red ones in the last picture may be scarlet waxcaps, Hygrocybe coccinea, and.... I give up.

Many thanks to Richard O'Connor for the picture of the road.


  1. Such a variety. None of these look familiar.
    Great shots.

  2. The yellow and red ones are waxcaps (family Hygrophoraceae, genus Hygrocybe). I have been told that they are safely edible, and have enjoyed quite a few on toast myself with no ill effects. However, as fungi contain complex proteins not all people react to them the same way. It is at least advisable with new fungi one knows are considered edible, to try just a small amount at first sitting. And keep a sample for safety. They are common on ancient turf situations uncontaminated by chemical 'improvements'.

    The white one looks as though it could be snowy waxcap (Hygrocybe virginea), the orange, 'cardboardy' and last bright red ones are probably scarlet waxcaps (Hygrocybe coccinea) and the yellow one is perhaps butter waxcap (Hygrocybe ceracea).

  3. Hi Peter - sorry, have been away so have only just picked up your comment. Many thanks indeed for the identifications, which I will now add to the photos in my fungus library. Jon