Fungi are a fascinating group of subjects. Different from all other plants and so varied in their forms, colours and sizes. I know very little about them, although being vegetarian I am very fond of mushrooms!

On our walks on the Surrey Hills we have seen such a profusion of fungi, and I don’t know if they are unusually profuse at the moment, or whether this happens every year. So I looked on the web for an informative site, and found this site

Our most recent walk led to some of these images, and I was especially impressed with the collection on the long fallen tree trunk. It’s amazing to think they are effectively consuming the tree – though of course it will take quite some time.

My friend Ali who lives in the New Forest has given guidance on the edibility of some. She says “the yellow/orange one (number 4) is chicken of the woods and is supposed to be good to eat but I have not tried it ” She warns the others are not edible, though she hasn’t any information on the red one.

Here’s another profusion of smaller fungi, I think they are called bracket fungi, and we’ve seen a lot of them in many different colours.

Ali says “No 3 (below) is birch boletus (razor strop fungi) also non edible and very tough!  Was used for sharpening cut throat razors evidently”

Incredible colour mixtures are often present. I have never seen a fungus this colour or shape before, what a ‘Wow moment’ to catch sight of it, and then to notice there were several clumps of bright red just like this in amongst the green mosses.

I was fascinated also to discover that lichens are a type of fungus, but with ‘additional needs’. Here’s the definition on WIkipedia

A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi species in a mutualistic relationship.” … got it? … maybe?

I’m thoroughly enjoying spotting lichens as part of my new approach to abstract photography as they are marvellous subjects for this approach. I will be showing you images of this another time.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, there are, of course, many recipes to choose from, and I love Delia Smith’s Vegetarian Collection version, but PLEASE DON’T USE ANY FUNGI YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT. Pharmacists can often tell you which fungi are poisonous if you’re one of these adventurous types.

Red is usually a warning sign, and the Death’s Cap mushroom is blotched with red, Here’s a very impressive photo of it (not taken by me)

Close up of a bright red death cap, a very poisonous fungus. Growing in green moss with a dark forest in the background.

So my guess is that the other red one pictured above is likely to be poisonous too. A safer bet than assuming it’s OK!

Me- I like my mushrooms from Waitrose