Sunday, 15 November 2009

Fungus Foray at Tower Hamlets

I'm not very good at East London - Tower Hamlets is practically Belgium for us West London softies. But that said I wandered over to Mile End on the tube to join in a seasonable Fungus Foray courtesy of the good people of London Natural History Society and the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery. The weather was mild and sunny after yesterday's gales and driving rain, so it was good to soak up some much needed November sunshine.

Tower Hamlets cemetery is one of the "Magnificent Seven", and is a wonderful nature reserve. No people have been planted there for years. The stones are all higgledy piggledy and skew-whiff, covered in rambling ivy and green algae. There's rotten wood everywhere - so it's the perfect place for a spot of mushrooming.
The foray was ably led by Keir Mottram, and he was quite brilliant. Our little gaggle of almost thirty people explored the nooks and crannies between the graves trying to out-do each other for edibility, toxicity, size and lurid colours. A common mushroom (and happily edible) was the Shaggy Parasol as modelled below:

These are Stump Puffballs, and are no longer edible in this state (but they are when still young and white).

And my favourite tale from this afternoon. This is Glistening Inkcap - named after the powder that is present on its cap when very young. If you hold them up to the light they shine prettily, and someone has charmingly dubbed it the Twinkling Inkling.

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