Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Fungi Foray in the Forest of Preuilly, November 2019, Part I


Didier Raas, pharmacist and expert mycologist from Loches, lead one of his public education and outreach sessions in the Forest of Preuilly on Tuesday 12 November. It had been very wet, so many mushrooms were not in the best condition, and many were hidden under dead leaves that were stuck together with the wet. In the end though, after a couple of hours of forcing our way through the bracken and brambles deep in the forest we ended up with quite a good haul. Here are some pictures from the morning.

We set out.
Setting out on a fungi foray with an expert mycologist.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Caesars Mushroom Amanita caesarea (Fr. Amanite des césars).
Caesars Mushroom Amanita caesarea.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
Caesars Mushroom is an uncommon and prized edible species. It is normally eaten as young as possible, when it has a rather egg like appearance. Many white gilled Amanita species are very toxic, but Caesars Mushroom is the only yellow gilled Amanita, making it easy to confidently identify. The only possible confusion is with the infamous Fly Agaric Amanita muscari (Fr. Amanite tue-mouches), which is redder (less orange). But beware -- in rainy weather like this, the white flakes could wash off the cap of the Fly Agaric, making it look much more like the smooth shiny red cap of Caesars Mushroom. It is so important to check gill colour, and beginners should never eat a white gilled mushroom if they have not had it checked by someone like Didier.

 Crowded Brittlegill Russula densifolia (Fr. Russule à lames serrées).
Crowded Russula Russula densifolia.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Shaggy Parasol Chlorophyllum rhacodes syn Macrolepiota rhachodes (Fr. Lépiote déguenillée). Shaggy Parasol Chlorophyllum rhacodes syn Macrolepiota rhachodes.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
This is not an edible species, but mushrooms like this from the Lepiote group poison a lot of people. There is only one edible species of Lepiote, and it seems many foragers are just not careful enough or clued up enough to check for the snakeskin patterned stem that only the edible Common Parasol has. The other thing you should look for when intending to eat a white gilled mushroom that you think is a parasol is that the stem ring will slide up and down intact when gently pushed. If it doesn't then you were planning to eat a toxic Amanita sp.

Brown Roll Rim Mushroom Paxillus involutus (Fr. Paxille enroulé).
Brown Roll Rim Mushroom Paxillus involutus.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
This is one of the highly toxic mushrooms. It can kill, and causes an autoimmune response that damages the vascular system and internal organs. Treatment is months long, involves heavy duty drugs and the condition it causes is excruciatingly painful. The species can be identified by the very rolled edge of the cap and the way the gills scrape off very easily.

Brittlegill Russula sp (Fr. Russule).
Brittlegill Russula sp. Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
These purple and red capped brittlecaps are very difficult to identify to species level. The colour of this one would be described in a French field guide as vineuse.

This bolete has been infected with another fungus.
A bolete infected with another fungus.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
A mushroom in this condition is not good to eat. The mould that has attacked it will have bad flavours and maybe even make you sick.

Crown-tipped Coral Artomyces pyxidatus (Fr. Clavaire couronnée).
Crown-tipped Coral Artomyces pyxidatus.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Butter Cap Rhodocollybia butyracea syn Collybia butyracea (Fr. Collybie beurée).
Butter Cap Rhodocollybia butyracea syn. Collybia butyracea.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
This species feels greasy which is why it is known as 'buttery'. The stem is always curved into a hook shape.

Sorting the mushrooms into family groups prior to identifying everything to species level.
Participants on a fungi foray laying out the specimens collected to be identified.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Part II will follow.

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