Where would we be without Fungi? Dead that’s where, fungi keep the Earth alive (that includes humans) by cycling nutrients and organic matter through ecosystems, breaking down rubbish, feeding animals (what did you think Quorn was?) keeping soil fresh and usable and perhaps most importantly they help keep nearly every tree alive through a mutually beneficial symbiosis in their roots.
You can see these fascinating organisms that are neither plant nor animal all year round but are most obvious in Autumn when conditions are perfect for them to push their reproductive organs above the ground and release their spores into the air (Are you sure that you still want to eat them?). Recently I went for a lovely walk through the woods of Buchan park near where I live in search of the ‘fruiting bodies’ and took a few pictures of what I found – take a look.
This one is a type of Parasol mushroom, they can grow to impressive sizes and are apparently good to eat (always make triple sure that the fungus you are about to eat is what you think it is or you might die, and frankly the taste of a mushroom ain’t worth it in my opinion!)
A subtle beauty this one, known as the Tawny Grisette.
I think this is a Cep (or penny bun), it was very small and not fully formed.
The brown Leaf Brain! looks like what it says on the tin, feels like a slugs intestine.
Doesn’t look much but apparently this Cauliflower fungus is great eating, shame it was covered in bird poo and dog wee.
This delicate specimen was tiny but the main body of the fungus is probably quite extensive below the ground.