Saturday, 7 November 2015

An encounter with stags' horns

No, nothing as dramatic as you might think - this is referring to the amazing fungus, the yellow stagshorn.

I foolishly decided the rain wasn't too bad yesterday, for a quick stroll in the New Forest at Wellow Common. Here, the vast closely-grazed lawn, dotted with conifers and gorse, provides an excellent mosaic for a great variety of fungi.

In addition to the staghorn, I'm pretty sure I spotted the sickener (bright red) and the rose russula (lovely light pink) - however, as it was now a steady blustery drizzle at this point, I didn't get the camera out and can't be certain!

Now is a great time to get out there and spot the great variety of fungi we have in the UK - the New Forest is an excellent spot to go on a fungal foray (and, indeed, the Forestry Commission are running such events currently), but there is also a bit of a political storm brewing over collecting fungi for consumption.

It is prohibited to collect for selling to restaurants, but in reality, this is very difficult to enforce. Coupled with the personal allowance being, in my opinion, very high, it could be putting the future of this weird and wonderful group of species at risk.

So, please, look but do not collect when you come across something you think is edible, and leave it for others to enjoy.

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