Haslemere Natural History Society goes on a fungus foray

Picture by Daving Huntingford
Picture by Daving Huntingford
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MEMBERS of Haslemere Natural History Society found more than 30 species of fungi when they went on their annual fungus foray this year at Ebernoe.

Sara Shepley led the walk which took place on the National Nature Reserve at Ebernoe – a prime example of ‘varied ancient wood pasture’, looked after by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Brightly-coloured spikes of yellow spindles and scarlet caterpillar clubs were hiding in the short grass. Pink wax caps, also known as ballerinas, were in prime condition. Little white fibre caps were spotted by the keen eyes of the youngest member of this party.

An old oak tree, clearly doomed, played host to several fungi which were consuming it. At its feet was a crop of hen of the woods, while artist’s fungus, sulphur tufts and spindle shanks were also growing on it.

Sara demonstrated how it was possible to draw on the underside of the artist’s fungus. She also explained the nearby turkey tails had been used to make earrings in the past.

Five types of bonnet cap were found, among which the appropriately-named saffrondrop bonnet was shown to have brightly-coloured juice in its stem.

The little garlic parachute was passed round for members to smell. Perhaps the rarest sample found was a zoned rosette, which looked like a pink frisée lettuce.

At the end of the visit, Sara showed a stinkhorn egg which she had found earlier. She explained the smell of a fully-grown stinkhorn attracts flies which distribute the spores.

Sara’s knowledge is one of the society’s priceless assets.