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Fungus and moulds

Spring Fungi Walk, 2018

About twenty of us met up with Andy Overall for a walk around the Park looking for Spring Fungi. Some of these are fungi are found throughout the year and others are Spring specialists.

After an introductory talk by Andy in the Park Information Centre, we adjourned to a nearby dead oak to see how the Smokey Bracket fungus was progressing.

Next stop was a pile of wood chips near the 3-4-5 Playgroup which yielded Wrinkled Fieldcaps and Hare's Foot Inkcap as well as a slime mold, the appropriately named Dog's Vomit.

Nearby was an elegant young Dryad's Saddle pictured left as well as a clump of edible St. George's Mushrooms

By the fence nearby (and later in the walk), we saw some Brittle Cinder. We skirted around the Playgroup building to find a larger Dryad's Saddle that had been present for last year's Spring Fungi Walk.

Moving out of The Grove towards the Garden Centre, we spotted a few clumps of Stinkhorns just rising from the earth. These will grow and start to smell eventually looking like this. On some deadwood close by were some "bootlaces" - these are Honey Fungus rhizomorphs - clumped mycelia.

We walked towards the Paddock Car Park seeing several less dramatic fungi - HypoxylonPyrenomycetes and Hypodontia

On Lower Road, where the Farmers Market usually resides on a Sunday, we saw some King Alfred's Cakes.

Progressing towards the Redston Field, more St. George's Mushrooms were found and also Trametes ochracea (sorry poor pic). Another slime mold was also spotted - Wolf's Blood. The slime molds are in a completely different kingdom and not related to fungi.

Returning to the Park Information Centre, we spotted more Dryad's Saddle and the remains of a puffball from last year.

During the walk, we were encourage to sniff some of the Fungi as this can be valuable tool in identification.

We now have a copy of Andy's huge Fungi Book in the Park Information Centre for people to consult.

Autumn Fungi Walk, 2017

A cloudy day, but fine for our Autumn Fungi Stroll led as ever by Andy Overall. We met up in the Park Information Centre where Andy gave us an overview of some of the most deadly fungi to avoid. He also gave us a look his new book coming out shorty -  a hefty tome full of pictures of fungi found in urban situations. More info on the book here.

We moved out of the Park Information and headed for the Railway Orchard where we spotted some Redlead fungi at the base of orchard trees. Several other fungi found in the Orchard area including Scurfy Twiglet, Conical Brittlestem (pictured left) and Wavy Cap.

We paused by the dead oak opposite the Park Information Centre and inspected the growth of the Smokey Bracket.

Walking towards the Palace, we happened upon some edible treats, the Field Blewits.

Looking into the wood chip by the roses there was a treasure of finds. Amongst them were Common Rustgills and the foul smelling Stinkhorn.

A single edible Trooping Funnel was discovered and a group of Horse Mushrooms.

We did a circuit of the Western Arboretum not seeing many fungi although we did spot an Iodine Bonnet.

Back to the entrance of The Grove we had a couple of last discoveries including a Snowy Waxcap.

Spring Fungi Walk

After a month of dry weather, hopes for our Fungi Walk were not that high.....

We scouted around and found quite a few bracket fungi and some fungi looking a little the worse for wear including Sulphur Tuft in a couple of places.

A Deer Shield fungus was spotted in The Grove although it had been partially eaten.

However, in an out of the way place, we did a see a Dryad's Saddle otherwise known as a Peacock's Tail (pictured). 

Passing by a Lichen, Mario identified it for us.

We also came across the traces of a Fairy Ring (us pictured standing around it - look out for the fungi later. 

We moved out of The Grove passing by some Boot Laces (Honey Fungus) before finding some more smaller fungi towards the Paddock Car Park and Redston Field.

So in spite of the dry weather, we did manage rack a small list of fungi seen. Looking forward to finding more in the Autumn.

Autumn Fungi Walk, 2016

Foreboding skies greeted the Fungi Hunters - so after a brief introduction in the Park Information Centre and hoping that the rain would hold off,  we headed out lead by Fungi Guru, Andy Overall.

Two steps outside and straight away fungi were in evidence. Yellow Stainers - quite like nice mushrooms white with brownish gills - only problem NOT EDIBLE a quick introduction into the world of the difficulty of finding fungi to eat.... This fungus stains yellow when cut.

Just across the way stands a dead (or almost) oak with bracket fungi on it some type of Bjerkandera and nearby plenty of Sulphur Tuft covering the dead boughs lying on the ground.

Moving towards the Garden Centre, we spotted some the Gardeners' favourite, Honey Fungus. What was particularly interesting was seeing the white traces of the spores on the leaves. (pictured)

On one of the oak near to the allotments was a large reddish bracket fungus, aptly named Beefsteak...

... and by a Silver Birch a Brown Rollrim was spotted.

As the rain began to fall, by the Scots Pine on the South Slope, there in the grass was a Milkcap, Lactarius semisanguifluus. This is one of those helpful fungi, mycorrhizal, that are symbiotic with the tree - and a lovely orange colour underneath to boot. (pic)

Further wet walking into the Butterfly Meadow for further fungi finds before returning to the Park Information Centre for well-earned refreshments. More pictures from the walk.

Fungi Walk, April 2016

Spring you might think is not the season for fungi. With a light frost in the morning after some recent rain there had been a slow down in fungi coming out, but we were in luck for our Sunday stroll.

These walks led by Andy Overall are very popular and this one again was fully booked.

Andy told us about St Georges Mushroom, a nice edible species which we totally failed to find in the park on our walk....

Our first fungus wasn't actually a fungus, but a slime mold called False Puffball one fresh bit and older bit. These "creatures" actually move....

Walking along the lower road we saw a couple of Firerug Inkcaps. Some of our young Fungi Hunters pointed the Hypoxylon sp.

Also lining the Lower Road were Tripe fungus (pictured), Jelly Ear and Spring Brittlestems young and old.

A little distraction from the fungi was occasioned by seeing a lethargic Grey Mining Bee slowed down by the recent cold weather.

Up towards the Rose Garden, we spotted some Hairy Curtain Crust which look quite different on the underside.

Tree pits can be an excellent place to find fungi and some colourful Velvet shank was a reward for looking.

Sometimes one of the key ways of identifying fungi can be their smell and our next find, the Fragrant Funnel smells of aniseed.

Which fungi clean up after the dogs and other animals? Well one is the Tufted Mottlegill.

More fungi yet with a Star Pinkgill and one with a lovely name... the Felted Twiglet.

In the Rose Garden itself we found a Palomino Cup and on closer observation we unearthed the mycelium (the actual "body" of this fungus) while what we normally see is the fruiting body.

More velvet shank was seen, but on prompting it was examined more closely and found to be Sulphur Tuft.

Coming towards the end of the walk, we saw in the grass Common Fieldcap and the smaller, but more interesting Galerina sp. which feeds on moss.

All pictures from the walk.

Fungi Walk, November 2015


An overcast and gloomy Sunday afternoon for our Autumn Fungi Walk lead by Andy Overall. We met up by the still fruiting Pluteus aurantiorugosus, a spectacular red/orange shield fungus on a well-decayed ash log.

Andy showed some examples of different fungi (from Hampstead Heath and Regents Park) before we set off on our hunt.

A delicate Firerug Inkcap (picture) was one the first fruiting bodies to attract our attention as we walked along the Lower Road before cutting up to the grassland above.

A White Saddle fungus was one of more unusual fungi that we encountered. 

Andy explained many of the differences between the fungi, how to tell them apart and how if you are not an expert you might be dicing with death if you make an identification mistake.

In the meadow area, we came across a multitude of different Waxcap fungi (Vermillion pictured) which is good indication of the health of the habitat.

We were aided in our search by some young eyes which were closer to the ground than the majority of the group.

Towards the end of the walk, we were very happy to see several examples of everyone's favourite cartoon mushroom the white spotted red Fly Agaric (not edible).

All in all we were rewarded with many finds and it was a most enjoyable way to pass the afternoon. Link to pictures from the walk

Fungi Walk,  April 2015

Our Spring Fungi Walk began with low expectations as not much fungi had been seen in the Park recently. However we hoped that the recent rain would encourage some new growth.

Mario produced some samples of St George's Mushroom which is edible and which we hoped to find as we had done last year. No luck on the walk...

We saun
tered off towards the Paddock Car Park. Right opposite the Park Information Centre were some On the way we managed to spot some small Stereum hirsutum.

Gardeners' nightmare Honey Fungus was seen in its "bootlace" form. Several other interesting finds were clocked including the nicely named Crystal Brain, but probably rarest was the Schizophyllum amplum - sorry not brilliant picture.

On the remains of last Autumn's Compost Giveaway, Blistered Cup was seen.

We took a stroll by the settling pond and Redston Field without luck before heading back. Then things improved with Radulomyces molaris (pic). The name derives from the tooth-like form of the fungus.

Also a very evocative name for the Exidia glandulosa that we found.... Witches Butter.

We seem to start these walks with low expectations and always come up trumps!

Fungi walk Sunday 9th November, 2014

Andy Overall, of Fungitobewith led the walk in early November.

A crowd of about forty enthusiasts and those with just a passing interest met at the Park Information Centre in The Grove. The weather gods smiled on us through clear blue skies.

We explored the Southern Slope below the Palace and found large numbers of intriguing fungi from the typical, but beautiful Fly Agaric (pic) to Yellow Brain Fungus... Andy identified the finds, explained the morphology of fungi and how to tell them apart - often by smell....

We finished the walk back in the Park Information Centre with well earned tea and biscuits.

Some more pictures from the walk.

Fungi walk Saturday 10th May, 2014

Rain and wind as the walk started then the skies cleared for a while and we intrepid 15 even had some sun.

Andy Overall led our walk and to start with not much was seen... , but as we mushroom spotters got our eyes adjusted we came across over a dozen different fungi. 

One was called the Peeling Oysterling and had the interesting property that when you pulled on the edge a thin bit stretched out and then returned when you let go.

The question kept coming... "Can you eat this?" The answer was always "NO" which was disappointing as one of target species was the edible St George's mushroom.

Then danger struck, we disturbed a bee's nest so some careful avoidance strategies were brought into action. (No serious casualties!)

After spotting a slime mould and even King Alfred's Cakes we returned towards the Park Information Centre for a well-earned tea and biscuits when just before getting there, we had our best find (you guessed it) St George's mushrooms.

Andy is back in the Autumn to lead another walk for us on Sunday, November 9th.

Checklist of Fungi Seen

More pictures of the Fungi Walk.

Fungi Walk in November, 2013

On a bright sunny day, about 20 people gathered to follow Andy Overall, of Fungitobewith, in search of some of the park’s Autumn fungi.

It was a revelation to us all: from the poisonous Yellow Stainer just outside the Information Centre itself to the showy red Fly Agaric (pictured here, although the slugs had made an earlier visit), the delicate little Angel’s Bonnet, the greasy Buttercap and the aptly  named scaly Shaggy Scalycap, all with their different smells and attachments to particular trees or soils. 

We found over 30 varieties altogether, and Andy was a mine of fascinating information as our eyes became accustomed to picking out the fungi from the leaf litter and distinguishing one from the other. It was a wonderful introduction to this world, and one we’d like to repeat!

See list of fungi found on November Fungi Walk.

Fungus Foray, May 2012

Thirty people turned up for the Fungus Foray on a dull Saturday morning, led by Ted Tuddenham.

Ted first explained the basics about fungi – they are more closely related to animals than plants for example. He also talked of the different times of year for collecting fungi. Autumn is usually the best (unless it’s dry!), but Spring can have several specialties of its own.
We first found some fungi near to the garden centre including some turkey tails and jelly ear (feels rubbery just like an ear). The names are great and the next to appear was witches butter. For Ted, though, the most outstanding part of our walk of discovery was finding many fungi that shouldn’t have been there at this time of year. Among these were the deceiver, orange grisette and wood blewit (a really good eating mushroom).
Ted also explained how fungi reproduce, and what part is what using his impressively vicious looking fungus knife.
Throughout the walk, Ted would tell us what was good to eat, bad to eat and what was work for funeral directors. The point being never eat any fungi that have not been positively identified by a knowledgeable person.
  • Thank you for a fun and educational walk led by a great expert and orator, Professor Edward Tuddenham of the London Natural History Society.  For Ted's own report, see the document Fungus Foray, May, 2012.

Fungus in Autumn 2011

We have found two large patches of Poplar Knight Tricholoma populinum that has only eight previously recorded sites in the UK.

This is not in popular guides.

The other rarity found has been
Boletus legaliae
- no official common name but False Satan's Bolete has been proposed.

Local mycologist Ted Tuddenham has identified some other finds from the grounds of Alexandra Park:

first specimen looks like Griffola frondosa, Hen of the Woods; the second Ganoderma, possibly australis.

This suggests Coprinus micaceus Glistening Inkcap

and this is
us possibly atramentarius.

Slime Mould found July 2011

Our Park Manager, Mark Evison, took this picture (July, 2011) of slime mould in the large wood chip pile.

Local mycologist Ted Tuddenham says:

There are about 7 hundred species in the UK and they are often highly coloured like this one. Myxomycetes is the scientific name for the group.

Also in the large wood chip heap was a good crop of the wood chip specialist Agrocybe rivulosa.

It is always worth keeping an eye on really good wood chip piles as you never know what will turn up!