Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Fungi in the Orchard
Warted Amanita Amanita strobiliformis (Fr. Amanite solitaire).
This one caused Jean to exclaim with delight, partly because it was a perfect specimen, partly because the species is rare. It is found in forests, oak woods, hornbeam woods on calcareous soil. It is a large white mushroom with flakes on the cap like many Amanita spp have (the most famous is the Fly Agaric). The stem is thick and bulbous. Jean assures me it is very tasty and perfectly edible. However, further reading suggests that not only does it share the Fly Agaric's flaky top, it possibly contains the same hallucinogenic chemicals. Therefore, despite Jean's enthusiasm, I will not be eating it.
Ivory Funnel Clitocybe dealbata (Fr. Clitocybe blanchi).
This species is widespread and common, appearing in lawns, meadows and pelouses (short calcareous grassland). It is a small white mushroom that forms fairy rings. It is very toxic, potentially deadly and its nickname is the sweating mushroom because of the symptoms that very quickly develop (within half an hour) if it is ingested. The specific antidote to the poison muscarine that the mushroom contains is atropine -- so that's OK then -- if I accidently poison myself I'll just take a swig of Simon's eye drops that give him funny dreams or chew on the nearest Thornapple Datura stromonium, which is a terrible weed here.
Weeping Bolete Suillus granulatus (Fr. Bolete granulé).
This mushroom grows in association with pines and is edible with the proviso that you are best to wipe off the slimy coating on the cap, as it has a laxative effect. The pores will produce milky droplets when fresh and removing the pores before cooking is also recommended. Neither the pores nor the flesh stains when damaged or cut. It is the most common of the Suillus species that grow in a symbiotic relationship with pine trees and can be included in commercially available wild mushroom products. Apparently handling it can make some people come out in a rash.