2019 is turning out to be a good year for the early summer fungi. They clearly appreciate the damp weather, after last year’s relentless heatwave. All the fungi mentioned below are edible, with the arguable exception of False Chanterelle.
The spring fungi were a little disappointing – the Morels had an average year at best and the St George’s Mushrooms appeared just before the hot weather over Easter, and got sizzled in southern England before they even had a chance to drop any spores. They are all long gone now. The two common spring bracket fungi also had an unexceptional year. Chicken of the Woods is about, but patchily and unenthusiastically, and not fruiting at all in some places. This is not surprising after last year’s bumper crop of this species, because fungi often have a quiet year after a strong one. Small fruit bodies are also appearing in places I’ve not seen it before (photo taken last week, half way up a very steep sided ghyll on my local dog walk). Dryad’s Saddle is doing a little better, but is already well past its best for eating in most locations.
It’s the ground-fruiting early summer mushrooms that are doing better than normal. Chanterelles are abundant, with reports coming in of large fruitings from everywhere they are commonly found in the British Isles, although I’ve only seen a handful locally. It’s not unusual for these to fruit in July, but a little surprising for them to be quite so abundant before midsummer. I’ve also seen one find of False Chanterelles posted online, the first time I seen these before August.
Various species of Agaricus (relatives of the Cultivated Mushroom and Field Mushrooms) are about, including Horse Mushrooms and their poisonous lookalikes the Yellow Stainers. I have also seen a few Pavement Mushrooms, not in their typical roadside habitat but in my own greenhouse, underneath a cucumber plant. I have seen no sign of any Field Mushrooms.
Several other members of their family (Agaricaceae) are also fruiting. Giant Puffballs have been reported across much of southern
England and northern continental Europe. It is not unusual to see these fruiting in June, although typically they appear a little later. And Brown Parasols (close relative of Shaggy Parasol) have turned up in my mother-in-law’s garden.
The Blusher is fruiting here and there – the only Amanita I’ve seen so far. This is expected – it is a common species and occasionally fruits as early as May.
Poplar Fieldcaps (an under-rated delicacy) are also fruiting. These can appear at almost any time of year, and are well worth looking out for. They are large mushrooms, so you are unlikely to miss them.
As for the boletes, I’ve seen one picture posted online of what looked like a Scarletina Bolete. This morning I also found a Miller in my local
park. These aren’t boletes, but they are associated with them (either parasitically or symbiotically, mycologists aren’t sure) and often fruit at the same time, so I am keeping an eye out for some more.
And finally there are a few Brittlegills about, with more appearing all the time.
If the current weather pattern stays the same then it is likely there will be a steady stream of fungi appearing right through the rest of the summer. It is the exact opposite of last year, when the hot weather made life rather difficult for them.