WalkingSquares: Toadstools

Red toadstool in autumn leaves

Since finding the red and white toadstools, I’ve been keeping my eye open for unusual types of fungi and have discovered several on woodland walks. I can’t even hazard a guess at naming most of them, but this could be another fly agaric with its spots washed off.

Small purple toadstool

My sister emailed to say she had found some purple mushrooms in Sunnyhurst Wood ‘on tree roots’ adding that she didn’t think I’d find them. I gave it a good try, but can report that there are a lot of tree roots in the woods.

A few days later, having been teased about her poor directions, she kindly accompanied me, scouting around until she found some more. They were easy to miss: the caps start off tiny, not much bigger than a drawing pin.

Wet-looking toadstool

While some are picture-perfect others look decidedly yucky, just this side of sinister when our imaginations are fired up. While I liked the parasol-shaped caps of this cluster, I was less keen that they were super-slimy.

Toadstool with thick stalk and brown cap

This tan-capped one would be a good model for a doll’s house: it’s easy to imagine tiny windows and a front door in its sturdy stem. Finding this made me realise that many of the red and white spotted ones we see in illustrations are an amalgam of several types.

Cluster of toadstoods growing at the base of a tree

Many fungi appear in groups that seem like a forest-within-a-forest or a community. Those who find it easy to anthropomorphise will find rich material here. Scientists will see them as signs of the mycelial network we are oblivious to under out feet.

Miniature fungi forest

All of these tiny ones, no bigger than a fingernail had sprung out after a rain: when I passed by a few days later, they had all vanished.

Helvella (elfin saddle fungi)

My final ones are peculiar. Their stems are fluted, with hollow patches. I think they are some form of Helvella which has the folk name, elfin saddle.

I’m sharing these finds for Becky’s WalkingSquares.

40 Replies to “WalkingSquares: Toadstools”

  1. The purple one is gorgeous. We have some tiny red ones that are just as vibrant. Now that some rain has come, there may be more species popping up in our woods, but I’ve never seen anything like those colonies you’ve shown here.

  2. Fungi are fascinating! In my most recent book, I imagine that magic spreads like fungi, spreading forth from the roots of the Ancient Oak. I, too, like the purple ones. How tiny they are. No wonder you missed them.

  3. You find all of the magical things out in nature and thankfully share them with us! Merci!

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