17 | 07 | 17
Getting into Fungi
It had been a claustrophobic Christmas. Boxing Day, when it came, was grey and overcast but I was determined I’d get out for a walk. I headed towards the river, through a scrap of ancient woodland; it was there the oysterling caught my eye, like a gift left forgotten under the tree.
I’d had previous attempts at ‘getting into fungi’. My interest first sparked when I was a kid, when mum and I tagged along with a fungus foray organised by our local natural history museum. But identifying fungi always seemed rather involved. Sooner or later I’d default back to telling myself: “I haven’t got time for this.”
On this day, however, I had lots of time, oodles of time – a whole afternoon with nothing planned. So I stopped for a look.
Back home, I pulled my field guides down from the shelf where they’d been gathering dust the past few years and tried to put a name to what I’d seen. That turned out to be rather difficult but I got as far as figuring out it was, indeed, some kind of oysterling: Crepidotus sp.
With only a vague idea about what kind of mushroom I’d seen, there was no point trying to submit my observation as ‘a record’. So I started a blog to keep my notes and called it:
I realised I might have got a little further if I’d obtained a spore print from my oysterling so I resolved to go back the next day to get a specimen.
It turns out finding a stick in a wood is roughly on a par with finding a needle in a haystack. I never saw that oysterling again. But I did find a gorgeous clump of mushrooms which I thought might be Glistening Inkcaps Coprinellus micaceous, just edging past their best.
And with that, I was hooked.
Over the past nine months I’ve been amazed by the diversity of fungi that surrounds us.
I’ve enjoyed tiny triumphs, like identifying the yellow-capped mushrooms I found growing in a field as Yellow Field Cap Bolbitius titubans – the first time I’d managed to identify something confidently to species.
All Photos © Clare Blencowe
Above: Eyelash Fungus under microscope.
Right: Eyelash Fungus.