Thursday, July 12, 2012

Foraging for Fungi

Recently we were invited by a friend to forage for fungi in a nearby forest.

 Despite the cold weather, it was a wonderful winter outing and we enjoyed learning about the different types of fungi. We were led by an expert from the South African National Biodiversity Institute who shared her vast knowledge with us.
 As we set off into the forest and there were delighted squeals as the children and adults found various fungi hiding in the sodden ground.

Small groups scattered here and there, filling bags and baskets with beautiful specimens. 

It was great to have my sister in law, as well as my eldest son and his friend along with us. 

One of the boys seemed to be hunting for more than just fungi.....

Five or six scorpions were collected in his sock and he had a snake in his pocket!
 (I must say, I am glad it was not my son collecting all the creepy crawlies!)

On our return to the the meeting place, the fungi was  laid out on a log and the expert began to help us identify the various specimens. Most were inedible types unfortunately, though we did discover the Pine Rings which I hope to pick some time soon!

The dye ball on the left was fascinating- it contains natural dye which when mixed with various additives, produces different colours from bronze to salmon pink.
The stink-horn on the right, apparently releases a foul smell of carrion, which attracts flies that then disperse the spores. I love the beautiful pink inside.

The specimens above look so beautiful but they are the deadly Death Cap. Apparently a mere 30g is enough to cause liver and kidney damage and then death. 

All in all a wonderful couple of hours outdoors! 
Perhaps next week we will read about fungi in our Handbook of Nature Study and see if we have any specimens in the garden to record in our notebooks.


  1. What a great walk Wendy! You found a huge amount of fungi - so interesting. I would have to agree with you on the creepy crawly front. Eeewwww!

  2. There is just something fascinating about fungus. Maybe it is the unusual shapes and textures, or perhaps the thrill of finding something new and interesting. I really enjoyed reading about your fungus hunt and I learned a few new things about South Africa. :)

    Thanks for sharing your entry with the Blog Carnival!

  3. Thanks Barb, lovely to be able to share it :)


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