Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fabulous Fungi

Autumn is still some way off but there are already some fine displays of fungi around, thanks to warm, moist weather. We encountered this amazing display of fairy inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus on a fallen tree in Stanhope Dene in Weardale, County Durham last weekend.

Hundreds of tiny toadstools, each less than a couple of inches high, smothered the trunk and branches.

A carpet of damp moss provided the perfect cover for the fungal mycelium that produced this spectacular display, which will have only lasted a few days.

This toadstool - the dryad's saddle Polyporus squamosus - is more durable and was growing on the base of an ash tree beside the Ripon Canal a couple of weeks ago. The upper tiers of 'shelves' were still expanding.

From above, showing the distinctive pattern of scales on the cap. Next time I find one of these I must take a sniff because John Ramsbottom, in the classic New Naturalist book on Mushrooms & Toadstools published in 1953, claims that it smells like uncooked tripe - not that I know what uncooked tripe smells like....


  1. What an amazing sight, all those tiny mushrooms.
    Lovely shots Phil. Those others look like massive steaks.

  2. I think it smells like cucumber, or watermelon rind. Whatever it smells like, it sure doesn't smell like a typical mushroom.

  3. Wonderful pictures. I give a wide berth to the toadstools as they can trigger a wheezing attack!