I hope that some of you have been to the nature reserve over the last month and enjoyed the fungi trail that we have set up around the wooded heath.

Since marmite on toast is my breakfast of choice, I've always been a fan of fungi - yeast is a magical thing!  And as I've learnt more about it, I've found it even more fascinating...such wonderful shapes & colours and amazing names.

But as well as providing me with breakfast, fungus does some more important stuff too - without it we wouldn't have many of the trees or plants that we admire when wandering through the woods. Many fungi are symbiotic with trees, exchanging nutrients and sugars with the trees to ensure their mutual survival. Fungi is also an important recycler, ensuring that any dead wood is rotted down and all the lovely nutrients are returned to the soil.

I've been out and about again this morning to update the trail and signs, looking for new mushrooms and toadstools popping up amongst the leaf litter - here are a few of my favourites:

This one is known as both Stag's horn or Candlesnuff - neither name requires explanation. It grows on dead wood so it's worth checking on any tree stumps that you find.

These little beauties are Amethyst Deceivers - such a stunning purple colour. These ones are quite fresh, but as they age they loose some of their colour and start to look a little bit brown - this is where the deceiving part of the name comes from.

These are Mycena or Bonnet mushrooms - there is an entire book on the identification of these species. There are Fairy Bonnets, Lilac Bonnets, Milking Bonnets and Angel's Bonnets to name just a few.  I think these ones might be Angel's bonnets. They are named 'Mycena' as the shape resembles the caps worn by the Mycenaen people of ancient Greece.

More bonnets - this time Yellowleg Bonnets

This is Green Elf Cup. The fruiting bodies of the fungi are small bright green cups, but you are most likely to spot green-tinted wood lying on the ground. The stained wood known as ‘green oak’ was used in Tunbridge ware - decorative wooden tables and the like.

And my final fungi of the day...

This is Butter Cap whose cap feels slightly greasy - imagine stroking a pat of butter!  There are lots of these growing in the leaf litter at the moment.

We'll be running our fungi trail for the rest of the week so pop into the Visitor Centre to pick up a spotting sheet and map and see what you can find.

Anonymous