A Forest fungus foray

As it was a pleasant day, with nothing on the calendar, we decided to go into the New Forest in search of mushrooms and toadstools.

Our favourite haunt in the Forest is called Denny Wood. There’s a large, open, green sward fringed by trees, which is beautiful outside the holiday season.

Denny Wood, New Forest

During the summer months, it’s one of the New Forest’s official caravan and camp sites, so it isn’t an obvious destination for a day out. But if you continue for a short way along a forest road, you’re on your own again, with trees and open sward on both sides of the road.  At the end of September, the camp site will be closed again for the winter, leaving the place to local people, who come to look for birds, chestnuts, fungi, or just to enjoy the solitude of the place.

The Forest today was looking lovely: green, and surprisingly dry under foot. Mushrooms and toadstools were disappointingly sparse. I was hoping for big, photogenic species, but I didn’t find them. I photographed what there was, but it wasn’t what I’d hoped for.

There were also some young, green, sweet chestnuts on the trees. If only people would leave them alone and wait till they drop, but they seldom do. Instead, they bash them off the trees, only to find when they bash them open that they’re not ripe and no good. They do it every year. Such a waste.

The fungi I found were not very exciting, nor edible.  One of them, an all white bracket-like species growing on a fallen trunk, is probably a member of the oyster mushroom family Pleurotus, so may be edible.  But you’d need to be sure of your identification.  The only definitely poisonous one I saw was a member of the very dangerous Amanita family, probably A. pantherina, which is potentially fatal.

I didn’t pick any of the things I found (someone else had picked the A. pantherina specimen that I’ve photographed on some moss). So I haven’t identified them with any certainty, but I’ve put my guesses into the captions.

If there are any mycologists among my readers, I’d be delighted to hear from them, either in online comments or by private email (address supplied on request).

Here’s what I saw:

http://picasaweb.google.com/ssrogueriver/FungiDennyWoodNewForest16Sep10#

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