Monday, 5 October 2015

Rain Stops Play

We're stuck in today. Following a prolonged spell of warm and sunny weather, things have changed dramatically over night and this morning, it's wet and windy. But that gives me a chance to share a few more fungi pictures from last week.
The first of these was new to me and has taken some identifying. I knew it was a puffball of some sort (that much was obvious) but which one?
Well, it turns out to be a Spiny Puffball (Lycoperdon echinatum). Classed as being edible, but not good to eat, they are fairly common in Europe and the US. The young fruiting body at first has spiky protrusions all over the surface, but these beak down and drop off as it matures, leaving behind a net pattern on the top, surrounded by a 'collar' of brownish spines. Not forgetting the central opening through which spores are released.
Next, yet another new species for me. Much larger and far more impressive, this fungus was growing close by the Puffballs, close to stands of Birch trees. Pale brown, with a convex cap and a distinctive thread-like pattern around the rim, it turned out to be a Woolly Milkcap (Lactarius torminosus).
Milkcaps are so called because when damaged, the gills beneath the cap, exudes a milky latex fluid. The scientific name 'torminosus' means 'causes colic' and indeed if eaten, they may well cause a nasty stomach upset. Some say they are edible if salted and pickled, but the wisest thing to do would be to think of it as poisonous from the outset.
Still, a very attractive mushroom all the same.  And that's two more ticks for the life list!
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