Fungi

Association of British Fungus Groups

“The website of the U.K.s leading charity in mycological conservation. ABFG members are all amateur enthusiasts who want to broaden their interest in fungi and to help with the conservation of mushrooms and toadstools as they come under increased threat from depletion of woodlands and changes in agricultural practice.”
http://www.abfg.org/

mushroom2Mushrooms Identification Website
The site is based on Roger Phillips seminal work ‘Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain and Europe’ and the similar book published on the mushrooms and Fungi of North America. Roger’s twenty-year study will make the site the most complete collection of photographs and mushroom information from both sides of the Atlantic ever assembled. We already have over 3000 images on our site to help you identify and learn more about the mushrooms of Europe and North America!
www.rogersmushrooms.com ‘

Using keys to identify fungi
This site (mushroomexpert.com) is a North American site for North American fungi. Nevertheless, there is a wealth of information here and many of the fungi you are likely to come across can be found here. There keys are easy to use. Start with a mushroom you know well and try them.
Identifying fungi at mushroomexpert.com

The British Mycological Society

“The British Mycological Society (BMS) was founded in 1896 and has some 1400 members from many countries around the world, reflecting its international status. Its sole objective is to promote mycology in all its aspects…..
The Society serves the wide range of interests of its members which include Biochemistry, Biodiversity, Biotechnology, Ecology, Evolution, Fungal Interactions with animals and plants, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Physiology and Systematics.

The Society is also active in the promotion of Conservation and Field Mycology and in education through schools, universities and with the general public.”
http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/

Welcome to WildMushroomsOnline.co.uk: The UK’s Biggest Fungi Foragers Clubmushroom1

Welcome to my new and improved site for fungi lovers! If you have arrived at this site then you probably have a passion for fungi foraging or are looking to gain knowledge about the hugely diverse and facinating world of wild mushrooms. On the links below you will find a number of sections which will hopefully be a guide to you in your research. This site contains many pages and they are not always easy to find – if you get stuck, please try using the search box. This site has been created to assist newcomers to wild mushrooms and also, hopefully provide some useful information for others who are similarly passionate about the subject. You can also meet other foragers as well as post your latest finds for myself and others to help identify for you.
http://www.wildmushroomsonline.co.uk/

Wild About Britain Fungi Pages
Here you can find lots of information and resources on British Fungi, including links to facts and superstitions, news, events and photographs of fungi in the UK.
Find here:
Fungi of Britain A to Z
By Common Name
By Scientific Name
UK Fungi Gallery
Fungi Glossary
British Fungi Forums
UK Fungi Directory

http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/british-fungi

John Wright’s Fungi
John recently wrote the excellent beginners/intermediates guide to fungi that I would highly recommend.
http://www.mushroomhunting.co.uk/

How to avoid mushroom poisoning – (adapted from Shelley Evans’ guidelines in “Guides for the Amateur Mycologist – No.4 Guide for the Kitchen Collector: Preservation and Cooking of Fungi. BMS, 1994)
See here, also: The best edible species (with photos); Poisonous species.
http://www.nifg.org.uk/edible_fungi.htm

Fungal toxins and their effects on humans

“Diagnosis of Syndrome from Observed Symptoms

It is very difficult to assign a case of fungal poisoning on the basis of symptoms alone. The symptoms are often non-specific or too variable and where dishes contain a mixture of fungi several symptoms may overlie each other. Further, the amount of toxin contained in the fungi may vary in relation to the age and condition of the fungi. Nevertheless, symptomatology based diagnosis of poisoning by fungi is useful particularly if no material of the toxic fungi is available.”
http://www.sydneyfungalstudies.org.au/articles/fungaltoxinsphysioeffec.htm

mushroom3FUNGI; FOOD FOR THOUGHT – Mycologist Paul Stamets lists 6 ways fungal mycelium can help save the world: cleaning polluted soil, making insecticides, treating smallpox and even flu…(absolutely fascinating and if the arguments are sound, utterly brilliant!):
Six ways fungi can save the planet.
Rare fungi – not food!
The UK Provisional BAP Species
The list below includes the 67 species of UK fungi that are currently proposed for Biodiversity Action Plans. For full details and images, click on the name of the species.
http://www.abfg.org/bap1.php

Mushroom poisoning: what to do
PatientPlus articles are written for doctors and so the language can be technical. However, some people find that they add depth to the articles found in the other sections of this website which are written for non-medical people.
There is no difference between mushrooms and toadstools although, by common usage the latter term has gradually become applied to toxic types. They are all agarics (i.e. fungi with gills beneath the cap).1
Mushrooms found in gardens or on lawns are highly unlikely to be seriously toxic but may cause gastrointestinal upsets or be hallucinogenic.

Over the next few years I’ll be putting up lots of mushroom related videos – including some I’ve made myself. Some of these will be educational, some just a bit of fun. The following one is great to start with because it’s a bit of both: singing about mushrooms or, perhaps, being sung by mushrooms?.

Identifying fungi with your mobile phone: is it April the first or is this just a good idea? Well, it’s the 31st of July…… If some mindless people rely on this the way they do their sat.navs – that is, without engaging their brain, then I predict an increase in fatalities rather than the reduction that the technology is supposed to result in!

Last but hopefully, not least, here’s an article I wrote about mushrooms for The Ecologist Magazine:

Festive Fungi and Mycological Magic
October 08

In this country, notwithstanding the resurgent interest in foraging for wild foods, including fungi, we’re still fairly mycophobic compared to our more bemushroomed continental brothers and sisters. It need not be so. With Roger Phillips’s Mushrooms (2006), a comprehensive photographic guide to over 1250 British Fungi and John Wright’s more gastronomically circumscribed and utterly delightful Mushrooms (2007), expert help is readily at hand. And yet, there is far more to fungi than their gourmet potential. An exploration of that potential can deepen our respect for fungi and the intricacies of nature, banish irrational fears, and make mycophiles of us all. To that end one man is leading the way: Paul Stamets. His inspired and inspirational book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World is a mind expanding ecological masterpiece and breath of fresh air when compared to the current glut of depressing books detailing our slow environmental suicide.

He considers fungi as keystone species and their interlacing fine-webbed mycelia as the neurological networks of nature, weaving a living information-sharing membranous mosaic through virtually all habitats. Reflecting onsoil as our prime ecological currency, he explores how we can stay in the red using complementary mycological systems to sustain and regenerate soils, helping plants survive starvation, dehydration and parasitisation. Such mycorestoration is examined though the application of mycofiltration:using mycelial membranes to filter waterborne microorganisms, pollutants, and silt to mitigate erosion; mycoforestry: to sustain forest biocommunities through native forest preservation, recovery and recycling of wood debris, enhancement of replanted trees and strengthening ecosystem sustainability; mycoremediation:using fungi to degrade or remove environmental toxins including heavy metals; and mycopesticides:to fight destructive insects and protect crops, for example by utilising spores that are highly pathogenic to ants, termites, locusts, mosquitos, termites and other pests without harming nontarget organisms, polluting water or impairing human health in the manner of conventional industrial pecticides.

Brimming with more insightful ideas than spores in a Giant Puffball fungus, Stamets book playfully enriches our understanding and appreciation of the magical mystery that is the fungi Kingdom. Indeed, a spirit of play goes a long way towards ameliorating the residual fungal fears that many of us needlessly harbour – especially when applied to unmistakable species such as Giant Puffballs (Calvatia gigantia). In that playful spirit, and in celebration of the fact that fungi seem to be at their most prolific between my birthday on October the 22nd and Halloween, let’s have some fun with fungi……
Search in and around large nettle patches on moist, well manured pasture and, with persistence and a generous helping of good luck, chances are you WILL find not just one Giant Puffball but lots – five, six or even more is not unusual; certainly far more than even the most addicted, gluttonous and inveterate mushroom gourmet could ever eat. Last year I found six huge ones on 31st October, Halloween – all unblemished, firm and perfectly white throughout; prime candidates for eating but also absolutely perfect for making ghoulish flickering flame-faced Giant Puffball ‘pumpkins’. Light the hallowed fire, draw a suitably hideous (but carvable) face on the puffball, slice off the top, hollow out large chunks of mushroom from the centre, cut into batons, batter (beer, plain flour, a pinch of salt) and deep fry in oil until golden brown. In the meantime, get to work shaping the glaring eyes and jaggedly ferocious teeth. However, let’s not forget the growing popularity of Halloween trick or treating. From the nearest damp and open pine wood, gather together a basketful of a fungus named Witch’s Eggs – these can be seen just breaking through the pine needles at this time of year. They are the immature egg-like stage of the Phallus Stink horn (Phallus impudicus) that can be readily collected in large numbers. Despite being separated from their mycelium, placing the unopened ‘eggs’ on walls, in flower pots or any place you fancy will result, a few days later, in the phallic fungus busting forth to erect maturity. Trick or treat? It’s hard to decide. Certainly it’s a treat to see childrens faces when they see this fungus for the first time; the trick is to render it edible – not easy given its stench when mature although the ‘eggs’ make an almost passable glutenous curried mushroom soup. The Chinese dry the erect phallic structure that can be readily purchased – do doubt as a remedy for impotence or to increase sexual virility.

Of course, fungi can also be objects of beauty and captured memories. As such their Christmas gift potential is not to be overlooked.
There can be no better way to capture the sensual joy of copper sun dappled ferns and the soft under foot resinous damp of late autumn pine woods, than by finding some pre-frost Chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius), brushing them clean and beautifully preserving them in the strongest vodka you can find: 45%+ – the perfect gift and aperitif before any meal (allow to stand for 1 month before eating or drinking). The gorgeous rainbow mix of colours provided by edible Russula species (the Brittlegills), the vibrant amethyst of the Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystine), the intense blood red of Scarlet Waxcaps (Hygrocybe coccinea) and the delightful fragrance of Aniseed Funnels (Clitocybe odora) can similarly be captured in spirit – although flambé the latter before eating. Also, all but the chanterelles will benefit from the addition of fresh truffle slices. Pickling and presenting in an ornate jar or wide-topped bottle is another gift idea. This works well with Cauliflower Fungus (Sparassis crispa), small Bay Boletes (Boletus badius), Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus sulphurous) and Jelly Ears (Auricularia auricular-judae).

For fresh wild fungi to eat with your Christmas dinner go for Trumpet Chanterelles (Cantherellus tubaeformis) which can be found in huge quantities (last year, into January). These also dry very well and, again, make perfect presents. Even the first hard frosts need not be a source of fungal despair as frost actually stimulates the growth of some species: Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda – found Oct – Dec), Field Blewits (Lepista saeva – Oct- Mar) and Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes – Oct – Mar).
Above all else though, be safe this autumn. There are approximately17 known deadly poisonous fungi and 65 poisonous as well as numerous suspect fungi! Don’t consume anything unless you are certain it’s edible and then only consume small amounts on the first occasion to make sure your digestive system allows it. Gather with an experienced picker and buy yourself (or offer as a present) a good mushroom guide. Seasons greetings and happy hunting!

In season:
Fungi, seaweeds, bullace plums, sloes, rosehips, juniper berries, sea buckthorn berries, chickweed, wintercress, young nettles, alexanders, seabeet, sea purslane, horseradish, burdock root, walnuts, chestnuts, beech nuts, acorns