After a stupidly dry September and a stupidly warm October, the weather has finally returned to something resembling normal, and the fungi are now also back to something resembling normal. And in November, that means a riot of spectacular colour. It’s as if the fungi are competing with the deciduous trees: “So you think you’re putting on a bit of a show, do you? Well, see what we can do!” With the exception of some very large and rather ancient (but still edible) chanterelles and hedgehogs, all the species in this basket are typical November species. Well, the prince and the blusher can appear at any time from late summer right through until now, but the rest are late season specialists. The winter chanterelles were a couple of weeks later than normal and are only just coming through strongly in the last few days, those are the first decent crop of blewits I’ve seen south of Northamptonshire this year, there’s a solitary trooping funnel in there and a couple of bay boletes (not a good year for either of those two species, which are both normally abundant in November). The pistachio-coloured orange and green things are saffron milkcaps, but even their rather striking colour scheme cannot compete with the most beautiful of all the edible fungi: the waxcaps (snowy, crimson, scarlet and golden).
I am expecting the next fortnight to be very good for fungi, after the main part of the season was disappointing at best, and largely dismal.
Late November 2011, as the mushroom season peaked. Normally it’s earlier, but October 2011 was far too hot and dry for fungi.
These fungi, all of which are edible, were all collected in one afternoon at various locations throughout Sussex. It’s not a normal day’s haul, either in terms of variety or quantity. Days like this only come around once in a couple of years, when the conditions are just right. It also helped that the peak of the season was late in 2011, and I already knew where to go to find a lot of this stuff. I also ought to admit that some of them were picked more for their aesthetic qualities (I wanted a good picture!) than their desirability for eating. I should also assure people that I did not strip the locations concerned of all the edible fungi. No more than 50% of the fruting bodies were taken. There just happened to be fungi all over the place that day, and the situation was also helped by the fact that the peak was late that year, and that many would-be foragers had given up on the mushrooms that year after the worst October for fungi that I can remember.
Roughly left-to-right, and top-to-bottom:
Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)
Cauliflower fungus (Sparassis crispa)
Trooping funnel (Clitocybe geotropa) Boletus luridiformis
Penny bun (Boletus edulis)
Shaggy inkcap (Coprinus comatus)
Common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) Macrolepiota konradii
Slippery jack (Suillus luteus)
Jersey cow colete (Suillus bovinus)
Wood blewit (Clitocybe nuda)
Porcelain fungus (Oudemansiella mucida)
Meadow puffball (Lycoperdon pratense)
Amethyst deceiver (Laccaria amethystea)
The miller (Clitopilus prunulus)
Peppery bolete (Chalciporus piperatus)
Brown birch bolete (Leccinum scabrum)
Tawny funnel (Clitocybe flaccida)
Field mushroom (Agaricus campestris) Clitocybe sordida Agaricus lanipes