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Looking for Mushrooms...

Looking for Mushrooms...

Posted by @carmypeach on 17th Jan 2022

Spotty Otter Brand Ambassador @carmypeach shares with us, her love of hunting for mushrooms, and some of the types of Fungi you may be able to spot on your winter walks.

Hello! I’m Carmy and in all weathers and all seasons, I can often be found looking for mushrooms (or shrooms as I like to call them!).

My trusty sidekick is my 5yr old ‘lil man’ who’s also taken a shine to finding these wonderful and often very bizarre organisms. It also makes him walk faster when he can spot a fantastic fungi on a tree ahead!

I am by no means a mycologist (cool name for folk who study fungi), but I have a good general knowledge of UK shrooms. But please remember folks, (it’s important), some mushrooms are for looking and NOT cooking (or touching). There are lots of edible UK shrooms but you need to be 100% sure before you cook them as some mushrooms are edible…only once…

Often people ask me what is the difference between mushrooms and fungi? Well the answer is “mushrooms are the fleshy, spore bearing fruiting bodies of fungi”. They are essentially, the part above the ground. Mushrooms grow within the fungus mycelium (posh name for the network of fine white filaments) aka the roots of the shroom. But this is all getting a bit scientific so let’s get back to the fun part!

So, what mushrooms could you find on a UK winter walk? I have created a downloadable PDF to help you identify some of our fabulous fungi, so you are armed and ready for your mushroom hunt!

Here are a few of my fave UK shrooms…

PUFFBALLS

These little beauties can often be found on rotten old tree stumps, mossy woodland floors and grassy open spaces. They are the one mushroom that loves it if you stomp on them or squeeze them as this makes them release their spores which helps them to reproduce. Children love these as once squeezed they poof out a cloud of smoke like you have cast a spell!

CORAL MUSHROOMS

These guys have ‘fingers’ instead of caps and look like they could be found at the bottom of the sea (the clues in the name!). I tend to find these in abundance on unfertilised grassland or a mossy forest floor. This lovely bright orange one is called a Stagshorn mushroom.

THE SPONGEY ONE

Boletes - rather than have gills, these mushrooms have sponge-like holes beneath their cap. Slugs and snails LOVE to snack on these!

Some Boletes like this one, turn blue when touched or damaged.

THE TOXIC (BUT PRETTY) ONE

Obviously I can’t do a mushroom blog without mentioning everyone's fave the highly toxic Amanita muscaria aka the Fly Agaric, (its that pretty red one covered in white dots). You know, the one that all the artists like to draw and appears in the Super Mario games! They can be found from August - December here in the UK but DO NOT TOUCH OR EAT THEM!

That's all for now and happy shroom hunting! Remember don’t touch or eat any mushrooms unless you are 100% sure that they are safe. There are MANY poisonous mushrooms out there. Also, be gentle and try not to damage the environment they live in or pick too many.