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Fungi


by Richard Jones

[These curious toadstools] come with a health warning that they produce face-reddening, palpitations, tingling limbs, nausea and vomiting if combined with alcohol, even after two or three days...


Fungi growing in turfMy lawn is bone dry. I keep putting off watering it because it's autumn for goodness sake and it should rain soon. It's looking a bit brown, but I know it will recover fine with the first precipitation. The clouds, however, tenaciously hang on to their precious cargo. I'm not too worried about the grass, but I am concerned that without the damp September air, will I get to see any autumnal wildlife?

I photographed these ink caps, Coprinus comatus, a few years ago in Brenchley Gardens in Nunhead. With their long shaggy lawyers'-wig caps they are unmistakable, and one of the few edible species we regularly get in the area. I must admit, though, that I've never eaten them. I remember my father collecting them from the roadside verges near his Sussex home and having them with his bacon and eggs. He may still indulge occasionally; I'll have to ask him.

He could eat these curious toadstools with impunity because he is teetotal. They come with a health warning that they produce face-reddening, palpitations, tingling limbs, nausea and vomiting if combined with alcohol, even after two or three days. I gave up alcohol a couple of years ago, and I'd try them now, but I've not seen the ink caps recently.

The last few Septembers have been glorious for butterflies and dragonflies, with many flying well into October and November, but without that sudden change to wetter weather at the end of September, many late-season insects (and fungi) fail to thrive.

This happened a few years ago, when August dry crept into September…and October…and November, and before I knew it we had a winter without any apparent autumn. All those end of summer flies and beetles I expected never showed up. And no fungi either. It was all very disappointing.

Postscript. It's just rained, all I needed to do was write about it. I'll give it a few days then go on my first fungus foray.



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Gardeners' World Web User 20/09/2009 at 15:25

I have a number of lavender plants that I wish ti re locate in my garden. they have been in the same spot for a year but I now want to move them Can anyone tell me the best time to effect the move, Many thanks Maggyj

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:39

Against that, woody plants do like fine weather in the autumn because it helps ripen their tissues for the on-coming cold of winter. Plants with too much water in them will be damaged in a freeze.