[Fungus List with some NEW illustrations here.....]
A fair crowd followed Orpington-based fungi expert Jo Weightman as she ranged through the Community Orchard at Park Farm, Lynsted, on Sunday 9th October.
The occasion was the Lynsted with Kingsdown Society’s ‘Fungus Foray’. The weather was bright, and Jo deployed the ten children in the party to good effect – their eyes were sharper and closer to the ground than those of the twenty-two adults! Despite it being a poor year for fungi because of the dry weather, Jo and her ‘team’ of enthusiastic amateurs, large and small, managed to locate no less than 19 species! Some were growing on living trees, some on dead wood and some in the grass. Cameras clicked busily. Jo was able to allocate the Latin name to every specimen found, and to explain all about its biology, and use. The group was surprised to learn, for example, that the black pigment in disintegrating ‘ink cap’ mushrooms was regularly used in ink production in times past.
Moving on to Toll Wood, sixteen more species were identified. Jo made no excuse for using the systematic, Latin, names for the species. We British, in contrast to our Continental cousins, have little tradition for harvesting various fungi for the table, so common names are unusual. Even so, the few that had names were quite expressive: ‘chicken of the woods’ (see photograph below), ‘cramp ball’, ‘oyster fungus’, ‘Jew’s ear’….
Pleasantly fatigued with the scramble around the tree trunks and the walk between ‘sites’, the survivors returned to the Community room. There, after a hand-wash (some fungi being very poisonous), the party enjoyed a tasty ploughman’s lunch kindly prepared by Myra Scott and Mandi Strevens. Everyone was pleased with what had been a most enjoyable and illuminating Foray.
The Society is grateful to Pip Neaves and Lisa Candy for permission to access their land.
You can compare the results of a survey of Toll Wood in 2000-2001.