Friday, 26 September 2014

From Honey to Stink - A Fungi Walk

Posted by Rosie

Yesterday I wrote how the September weather here in Normandy has been fabulous.  Whilst daytime temperatures could all too easily be mistaken for midsummer, a closer look clearly shows that we are in early Autumn.  The nights are chillier, the mornings full of mist. Autumnal colours are appearing and there are fungi popping up. As yet there are not too many fungi as the weather has been so dry but no doubt more will appear when we get some rain.  These are the ones I spotted on a walk with the dogs yesterday.  Some of I can identify but one is a mystery as so often is the case with fungi!

Stinkhorn - Phallus impudicus

This is possibly one of the easiest of all fungi to identify and in fact you will smell it before you see it!  The smell comes from their sticky spores which attract flies who then distribute these spores on their feet.  And it's shape - well yes, probably the less said about that the better!


The picture below is also a stinkhorn, this time just before the fungus emerges in the characteristic form above.  It also has the distinctive smell and is known as a Witch's Egg.  Apparently it is edible and supposed to be an aphrodisiac but this is not recommended!!

Witch's Egg (Immature Stinkhorn)

Honey Fungus - Armillaria mellea

I think the fungi below are all Honey Fungus, a fungus that is a parasite of tree roots and can cause the death of trees.  The honey in it's name (mellea is Latin for honey) refers to it's honey colour, not it's taste.  It is a very widespread fungus and when it does appear it is easy to spot the large clusters.  As with all fungi though it is short lived and soon rots back, first to brown and then a rather disgusting black mass. 

Honey Fungus

Honey Fungus

Rotting Honey Fungus

Not all fungi are easy to spot. Both these pictures below are fungi but I only spotted them as I was down on the ground photographing the "Witch's Egg" above! 

Dead Man's Fingers - Xylaria polymorpha

It's easy to see where this fungus got it's name from!  It is a common fungus and present all year round where it lives on dead wood.

Dead Man's Fingers

Artist's Conk - Ganoderma applanatum

Look carefully in this picture and you will see a large white object in the top right, the base of a bracket fungus that I am fairly sure is an Artist's Conk. It is said you can etch into the white surface and the marks will turn and stay brown revealing your artistic masterpiece, hence it's common name.  

Artist's Conk - Ganoderma applanatum

Unknown fungus

This little cluster of orange fungi was growing under the gate into the turkey field but I have no idea what it is.  Fungi are notoriously difficult for the amateur to identify as many species look so similar.  However in France you can take you finds to the Pharmacy and they will do the identification for you and advise which ones are edible.

Unknown small orange fungus

With luck we will see more fungi when we get some rain.  Why don't you head out and see what fungi you can find.  But remember, if you do not know what the fungus is, do not pick or even touch it. Some can be irritant to touch. 

#FungiFriday on The Purple Pumpkin Blog


  1. What a great collection! And thank you for sharing on #FungiFriday. It's great you're able to identify them, I should start doing that with mine. Many do look similar though don't they - pretty awesome you can take them to be identified! I wouldn't dare eat any I see - I just like to look at them!

    1. I have eaten wild mushrooms but only those I picked with an expert. I can recognise a field mushroom and have eaten those but everything else is purely for looking at!

  2. I haven't seen such a variety of mushrooms!
    These are great shots, makes me want to get out and search the ground more. :>

    1. Thank you - we are very dry at the moment so actually we do not have that many at the moment. Some years you are literally falling over them.


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