Guy Edwardes/2020VISION

Mushrooms and toadstools

With more than 15,000 species in the UK, fungi make up an entire kingdom of their own. These curious beings are neither plant, nor animal, and their diversity is stupendous. Chicken of the woods and King Alfred’s cakes, pink ballerinas and scarlet elf cups, blewits and boletes; some are delighfully named, some delicious, and others poisonous. Every habitat is home to a great variety of fungi, and autumn is the best time to explore this little-visited world: you may well be surprised at just how many you come across!

Where can I find it?

Mere Sands Wood - The reserve is rich in fungi, with over 200 species recorded.

Fungi grow in every habitat, and you certainly don’t need to go to a nature reserve to find your first toadstools: there will more than likely be several species in your garden. Encourage fungi to grow by leaving logs and branches to rot and wait to see what arrives. You’ll end up helping beetles too!

Important information

As well as many delicious wild mushrooms, fungi also include some of our most poisonous species, aptly named species such as the sickener, poison pie, death cap and the destroying angel. NEVER eat any fungi you find unless you are 100% certain about their identity. Unless you are with an expert, it is best to leave mushrooms where you find them - that way, others can enjoy their beauty - and go home with a photo instead.