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. Fabulous. I see most of these quite often, but am still horribly ignorant about them. But I have a Giant Funnel Fungus tomorrow – the first time I’ve seen a monster toadstool like that. What a lot of variety there is!

  2. When I recovered from your startling report that there are a lot of tree roots in the woods, I admired your images immensely. Except for the slimy one — sinister indeed! I much prefer all the others, especially the one that looks as though it could be an apartment for the wee folk. I’m astonished at the purple one, and I congratulate your sister on spotting it. What interesting walks you take!

  3. Amazing, aren’t they? Love the little ‘forest’ of them! That pink one looks lethal. Has somebody had a bite? They spring up willy nilly on our croquet lawn- fun obstacles!

    1. Slugs seem to like mushrooms. And reindeer, although I would be surprised to see one of those, even in December, I have seen roe deer nearby.

    1. I had an answer all ready to press send then for some reason thought I’d better check it didn’t have any meanings I wasn’t aware of – luckily, for there were! The summary is ‘no’.

  4. I’ve never really liked fungi of any sort, they creep me out especially when growing on a dead tree, though I can just about tolerate the red ones with white spots. The ones in the last shot remind me of fantail goldfish and those slimy ones look positively evil 🙂

    1. The slimy ones were even worse in real life. I’m more interested in fungi than I was, although I have no interest in naming them. They vary and change such a lot and the dangers of misidentification are too great.

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