Several people have told me that they've been been disappointed by the paucity of fungi on show in some of our woodlands this autumn. It can be like that sometimes, one wood might be poor while another may be fantastic. The unpredictable nature of fungi, their sudden appearance, is part of their attraction. Here are a few common species which I've photographed recently.
The Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) is unmistakable, surprisingly common and often grows with birch trees. The flesh contains a toxic isoxazole alkaloid that causes an alarming inebriation syndrome which includes a very unpleasant period of nausea. People who ate this toadstool in the experimental days of the late 1960s never really found the 'chemical escape from reality' worth the unpleasant side effects. So don't try it at home folks!
Other common species I've seen in our woodlands during the last 2 weeks include puff balls and earth balls.Common Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)is one your likely to come across in any type of woodland.
The Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum) is particularly common in Briton Ferry Woods.
The Scaly Earthball (Scleroderma verrucosum) is abundant along the woodland path (the old railway track) near Efail Fach.
Lastly, there's a lot of White Saddle (Helvella crispa) in woodlands in the Neath area this year. It is abundant in places along the forestry road through Briton Ferry Woods.