Finding Fun in Fungi!

If you go down to the woods today....

If you go down to the woods today….

Yes, it's that time of year again...get ready to spot some fabulous autumn fungi!

Fly Agaric Fungi

Fly Agaric Fungi

At this time of year fungi start sending up their fruiting bodies, aka toadstools, in a kaleidoscope of colours and a myriad of shapes and sizes.

The classic one we imagine is the Fly Agaric which is red with white spots but they can be purple, brown, yellow, orange and even green. Their names are equally diverse and weird with Amethyst Deceiver, Dead Man’s Fingers, Yellow Brain Fungus among them, although they often describe what they look like. Ok, so I chose some name that fit in with Halloween too!

Delve under the soil’s surface or under the bark of a rotten log and you will find thread-like structures lacing through the material. These are mycelium which are the feeding part of the organism. They do all the work by spreading quickly and breaking down generally dead material so that the nutrients are released. If they didn’t do this then we would be buried in a layer of leaves, wood and other dead material several metres thick.

Have a wander around your local woodland and see what you find and share your pictures with us on our social media pages!

Nature Reserves in Brecknock where a variety of fungi can be found are Ystradfawr and Wern Plemys near Ystradgynlais as well as Coed Dyrysiog and Drostre Wood near Brecon. Some, like the brightly coloured waxcaps, can be found in open, unimproved but well grazed grasslands. Over 10 species of waxcaps were found on Allt Rhongyr Nature Reserve in 2018, but it does depend on the weather. During the summer of 2019 the area dried to a crisp and there were very few. Maybe the rain after the Indian Summer will tempt them to pop up.

Please don’t pick them as many species are rare locally and nationally. Also remember a lot are poisonous.