With so little happening at present, I thought that you might be interested in a little more information on some of the wildlife that I have photographed over the last year. Specifically, in this post, as it’s that time of year, fungi.
Cep (Boletus edulis)
aka Penny Bun.
An easily identifiable, meaty fungus. Good to eat, highly regarded and sought after. Low in fat and carbohydrates. High in proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibre. They can be dried for future use. Young ones can be pickled.
Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus)
A salty flavour and must be eaten young (before gills start to turn black) as soon as possible. It will turn black and dissolve itself in a matter of hours after being picked or depositing spores. Placing in a glass of ice water will delay the decomposition for a day or two. Sautéing or simmering until limp will allow the mushrooms to be stored in a refrigerator for several days or frozen.
False Death Cap (Amanita citrina)
Smells like radish as opposed to Death Cap which has an unpleasant smell, particularly when old. Ochre-yellow veil fragments also distinguish it from Death Cap. It is edible but unless you are absolutely certain, do not eat! It is too closely related to at least two deadly fungi that look very similar.
Tawny Funnel Cap (Paralepista flaccida)
Known to form fairy rings. No nutritional benefit, though a mild taste. However, it is also too similar to Paralysis Funnel (causes Erythromelalgia) to take chances with.
Oak Milkcap (Lactarius quietus)
Inedible; bitter taste and unpleasant smell.
Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)
Poisonous; very bitter, tasting like quinine. Interestingly, it has been successfully used to combat Armillaria root rot in conifer by displacing the Armillaria fungus, including….
Honey Fungus (Armillaria)
Not worth eating; difficult to digest and must be well-cooked. Taste is nutty. If you do decide to eat, do not consume alcohol 12hrs prior or 24hrs after! To do so will induce severe bouts of nausea and vomiting.
Clustered Bonnet (Mycena inclinata)
aka Tufted Bell Cap
Mild taste, but not worth eating. Interestingly, it has a high content of iron and nickel, it is resistant to aluminium and can decolourise synthetic dyes that are used in the textile, plastics, biomedical and foodstuff industries.
Little Wheel Fungus (Marasmius rotula)
Inedible; simply not worth it; tough and small. It will bio-accumulate cadmium to a large degree and is attracting a lot of research for possible use in bioengineering applications.
Birch Knight (Tricholoma fulvum)
aka Yellow-brown Tricholoma
There seems to be some debate as to whether or not it is edible.
Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
Probably the most iconic of all fungi. It is depicted in practically all images of mushroom, from children’s stories on. It is widely associated with pixies and fairies. Of course, using this very special fungus will inevitably introduce you to a whole new world! It is highly psychoactive. Despite the press, it is not fatal. However, not preparing properly can cause serious nausea and potentially other more serious stomach problems. Do not ingest without proper supervision or knowledge!
Smoky Polypore (Bjerkandera adusta)
Inedible. It produces enzymes that can degrade polycyclic paromatic hydrocarbon, such as those used in synthetic textile dyes. There is interest in researching this fungus for use in bioremediation. Also, research has shown that it can also decolourise synthetic melanin and so therefore can be used for melanin decolourisation in cosmetic applications.