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Mushroom heaven; group fungi identification at the South London botanical institute

the SLBI is a lovely old converted house in Tulse Hill, with an astonishing botanical back garden. Over the past month, a seasonal Mushroom identification activity has takes place, whereby you take a mushroom collection to be identified by an expert in the field. Fabrice and Mario presented the night. On the promise of observing other’s fungi, I attended with photos to identify from another’s recent discovery in Downham. Hence I arrived with images and my favourite books on the subject including my inherited Geoff Kibby’s original which is over 30 years old.


As I entered the room An amazing variety of very brightly coloured fungi covered the table on display in groups: A whole forest of wax caps! All have these distinguishing features: waxy caps (!) plus are slimy/clammy or cool to the touch. A Snowy wax cap is edible but looks similar to the common poisonous death angel. A Parrot wax cap displays a flash of blue upon stem. A Meadow wax cap is edible and is found by streatham common near the house at top. A Crimson wax cap has yellow gills and is edible.

A Clitocybe (sloping head) has purple gills and white spores. it’s found around trees and is related to Lepista the Field blewit.

My images depicted Infundibulicybe geotropa the Monks head mushroom.

Back last summer we found a Ganoderma bracket fungi at buddhafield camp in Dorset which has a cocoa like dusting of spores.

A Russular has deep pink tops with delicate white gills. 

Web caps with open gills are with little web bits instead of a ring.

We were an interesting group; a mix of enthusiastic gardeners and an environmental journalist. We discussed food security issues and new insights into land use and ownership. Beyond id Fabrice discussed how Peat bogs which are naturally wet had been affected by drainage for grouse hunting and is bad for carbon emissions. Sheep rearing on Yorkshire land which holds water like sponges. Now this land is being drained and over grazed by sheep which has meant flooding in other areas; As a direct result from sheep over grazing. Plus Peat land burning.evolution now!

Revolution now!

The Best Method to Use-for collecting fungi? a good French mushroom knife to cut mushrooms or even a pound shop version on a string!

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