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Some spring fungi to look for.

At this time of year there are some wonderful spring fungi to keep an eye out for when you are on a walk (or even in the garden). Some are edible and some are not, either way they are all worth looking for over the next couple of weeks, I have made a sheet of the 8 species that in my eyes are the specialities at this time of year, there is some more info on them below.

St George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) - an all white mushroom with a distinctive mealy smell (some say like cucumber), it is one of the few large mushrooms out at the time of year and with the all white (or cream) colour, the smell, and the fact the fact they usually grow in rings make it relatively easy to identify. Under hedgerows, in pastures, parkland and along roadsides are some the places to look. Edible

Common Morel (Morchella esculenta) - a highly variable species where some authors split them into sub-species depending on habitat and colour but currently they are still all considered the same species. 'Mushroom' shaped with a honeycomb structure for the cap with deep pits and ridges. Ranging from sand dunes, scrub, woodlands (usually with Ash), woodland on chalk or even waste ground. Edible

Black Morel (Morchella elata) Edible - similar to the Common Morel with deep bits and ridges making a honeycomb structure, but it is more often darker and much more conical shape. the cap is fully joined to the stem, unlike the Semifree Morel (Morchella semilibera) - which is not pictured. It is also found and sand dunes and areas with an alkaline soil, but more commonly it is found on wood chipping in gardens, supermarkets, housing estates etc. Edible

Thimble Morel (Verpa conica) - a small morel looking fungi but with no honeycomb structure for the cap, it is more bell shaped with some folding of the cap when older. The stem can develop banding when older too. Usually found under or near Hawthorn and usually on alkaline soil. Inedible

False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta) - the look a like to the edible morels, the False Morel has a jelly like cap without the honeycomb like structure and is usually more of a reddish-brown all over on the cap. It is found on sandy soil with pine and is often found on garden wood chippings too. Deadly Poisonous

Vinegar Cup (Helvella acetabulum) - an interesting fungi which looks half like a cup fungi and half like a true saddle (the Helvella family). Indeed it is somewhere in the middle having the weird ribbed stem of a Helvella and the cap which is like a cup of species like the Pezizas. Usually found on alkaline soil on path edges, parks and woodland. Poisonous

Midnight Disco (Pachyella violaceonigra) - a relatively rare fungi but it is common in parts of Greater Manchester, and it maybe misidentified as a peziza in other parts of the UK making its true distribution clouded. A rich brown/purple/red on top (like a deep wine colour) with pale thick flesh and underside. It has no distinctive smell and is found along path edges in scrub and woodland, usually on care soil and even on muddy rocks. Unknown

Bleach Cup (Disciotis venosa) - another cup like fungi but this all brown cup has a very distinctive smell of bleach when in the held, especially when broken slightly. It is said it often grows with Common Morels in woodland so if you find this then you should keep n eye out for morels (though not always). It is found in woodlands and even in gardens . Poisonous

Remember if you are picking wild fungi to eat then only ever pick something that YOU are 100% sure YOU know what it is. This article is to give you an idea about what species are around and where to find them, use a good field guide to confirm your finds.


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