Posted by: lensweb | October 26, 2015

A Fungletastic Day Out with LENS

A Fungletastic Day Out with LENS

Sunday 18 October

Fungal Foray at Pioneer Meadow LNR

Wirksworth Road, Ilkeston

Meeting at Wirksworth Road entrance

Postcode DE7 4GE


Leader  Marion Bryce

Pioneer Meadows is a Local Nature Reserve owned and maintained by Erewash Borough Council on behalf of the local community. Enjoying the Autumn sunshine we sat on wooden posts in the car park, eager to explore the fungal diversity on site. As we waited  we made sets from diverse examples of fungi. Two major groups are the spore shooters and the spore droppers; the spore droppers are our familiar gilled mushrooms  but they can also have small pores beneath such as boletus, used to flavour mushroom soup; the spore shooters can be balls, stars, antlers, jelly or any shape.

Fungi produce our bread and cheese, beer and wine – are vital to life. Many fungi grow as a delicate underground network of threads, and in Autumn, when  the days shorten and the nights grow cold, ‘fruits’ are formed. When we see a mushroom and pluck it from the earth it is like plucking the apple from a very fragile branch. Fungi  form  close and unique associations with trees. The trees use green chlorophyll for photosynthesis,  giving sap for the fungus to sup, the fungus enhances the uptake of vital nutrients through the tree roots and helps the tree to grow. Most trees need fungi but many fungi can grow without trees.

Armed with Collins Mushroom Guide what did we find at Pioneer Meadows?

First we found a rubbery bracket fungus which grew directly from the wood of a field maple. Then on huge rolled hay bales, there were hay caps, inkcaps and a domed mushroom with a long floppy skirt around the stem,  Agrocybe rivulosa. This was new to the country in 2004 and is more usually found on wood chippings. There was a parallel universe of fungi in that hay bale, a risk this expedition would be an ‘all dayer’.


Bright and slimy yellow field caps caught our eyes in the meadow. Then we stepped into a fairy ring, a dark green circle of grass with a ring of buff fairy ring champignon around the edge, as the radiating fungal hyphae ever seek more nutrients moving out from the centre,  Deceivers looked similar but the buff cap had pink gills contrasting with the dull cap, amethyst deceivers had mauve gills. A large pulpy brown mushroom was princely purple beneath,  a  meadow blewit. Spongy brown boletes grew along the edge of birch woodland.

meadow meme (2)

Golden yellow buttercups, mauve betony and bright orange foxes and cubs still flowered.  A waxy white funnel was our first of the rainbow waxcaps.  Smooth the greasy cap, smell the earth, position prone to photograph, now eyeball to eyeball with the last few meadow grasshoppers, jumping in slow motion.


Slimy green and yellow parrots were next, a red and yellow insipid, golden and lemon yellow, an explosion of orange and scarlet.

scarlet meme

Waxcaps, the jewels in the meadow.

Reluctantly we herded to the pond pathside where white helvellas trooped in single file like French nuns.

helmeme (2)

Brambles tore at our ankles as we looked at purple, pink and green brittlegills, and brown milkcaps around the oak trees.  Stuart was ecstatic as he found huge ‘super mushrooms’, an arc of clouded agaric in a clearing in the woods.

clouded meme

Shy rose mycenas pushed up through the crinkling brown leaf layer and a tree stump was host to a thrusting mass of tawny funnel caps.

Back to the beginning we had a quick check that our prize Chinese Photinia  (Stranvaesia davidiana), possibly the only specimen in Derbyshire, was still lurking under it’s oak umbrella.

stranvaesi meme

What a fungletastic day out with LENS!

Marion Bryce 18 October 2015


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