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Finding Fungi in Burnley, Lancashire

Updated on February 26, 2012

Burnley in Lancashire is where I have lived for six years and do a lot of both in town and the area surrounding it. walking. Lancashire is renowned for being a very wet county being on the west coast of the UK. It didn't take me long to realise that one bonus of the wet weather is that there are plenty of fungi to see out on walks. However it is only in the past 12 months that I started looking more actively for fungi and trying to put a name to more of the species I spotted.

Please note that I may have some of the species names wrong despite my best efforts. Also please don't eat the fungi that you find unless you are very competent at identifying them. If you want to learn about foraging for fungi to eat I recommend that you join an experienced mushroom forager. I enjoy fungi purely to look at and take photographs of.

Shaggy Ink Cap - Coprinus comatus

I have found shaggy ink caps in autumn all over Burnley, for example, on the grass verges of the Rossendale Road and Accrington Road. They are a charismatic fungus which pretty much shout out to be noticed by you. What a great name too, it perfectly describes their appearance.

Shaggy Ink Cap - recently emerged, shaggy phase.
Shaggy Ink Cap - recently emerged, shaggy phase. | Source
Shaggy Ink Cap - several days after emergence, inky phase
Shaggy Ink Cap - several days after emergence, inky phase | Source

Penny Bun - Boletus edulis

The penny bun is known by many names, but penny bun is my favourite since it is so descriptive (even though it's many years since a bun could be bought for a penny!). Other names for it are the cep or porcini mushroom. I found this one in Burnley cemetery in the autumn. I think mice or slugs had been eating it, since it looks munched round the edges.

Penny Bun
Penny Bun | Source

Birch Polypore - Piptophorus betulinus

This fungus can be found all year round. It is one of the aptly named shelf or bracket fungi which have pores rather then gills. As you can see in the picture below it provided a handy shelf for my key, which I used to indicate the size of this specimen. Birch polypore can be found where ever there are birch trees, in Burnley I've seen them . This specimen was found in Cronker Plantation near Hapton, 3 miles from Burnley.

Birch Polypore
Birch Polypore | Source

Jelly Ear - Auricularia auricula-judea

Another aptly names species, they really can look eerily like ears. They are a jelly fungus with a distinctive flabby texture and a wibbleyness if you poke them. Common throughout most of the year especially on elder trees. I have found them in lots of places around Burnley, for example the footpath near the Farrington Road industrial estate and off Lower Rosegrove Lane.

Ear fungus
Ear fungus | Source

Turkeytail Fungus - Trametes versicolor

This might seem an inappropriate name for this fungus if you are only familiar with the white hybrid most commonly farmed turkeys. However, wild turkeys, Norfolk Black turkeys and many of the other turkey breeds do have a tail feather fan marked very much like turkeytail fungus. It can be found throughout the year on rotting wood. This example was photographed on Stoops Estate, Burnley.

Turkeytail Fungus
Turkeytail Fungus | Source

Alder Bracket Fungus - Inonotus radiatus

I am reasonably confident that this is alder bracket fungus because it is on an alder tree. It's not the most interesting fungus to look at by a long chalk. I found it in a small area of wetland near Lower Rosegrove Lane, Burnley.

Alder Bracket Fungus
Alder Bracket Fungus | Source

Butter Waxcap - Hygrocybe ceracea

This tiny but fabulous mushroom was such a gleaming luminous yellow that my camera struggled to deal with it and ended up giving a yellowish glow to the whole picture. I could imagine it glowing in the dark. What a great fungus and only 15mm tall. I found it in autumn in Burnley cemetery.

Whilst I've labelled it Butter Waxcap and this is a pretty good fit given time of year and location, it could be Hygrocybe vitellina as an alternative although according to 'Roger Phillips - Mushrooms' this is usually found amongst moss, so less likely.

Butter Waxcap
Butter Waxcap | Source

Earthball Fungus

You have to love an exploding fungus. This are mini browner versions of the better known puffball fungus. Yes they do look somewhat like chocolate truffles, or something less edible! However they are fully paid up members of the fungus group. You can see from the second picture that there is a ole in the top and a slightly deflated appearance to the earthball because it has exploded and puffed it's spores out to grow more earthballs. There were still some spores in there because I poked it and some wafted out. I'm not confident about the exact species here. It could be scaly earthball - Scleroderma verrucosum. I found these in Stoops estate Burnley and on Moorland above Clowbridge reservoir about 3 miles from Burnley.


Earthball Fungus
Earthball Fungus | Source
Earthball Fungus deflated having released spores
Earthball Fungus deflated having released spores | Source

Stag's Horn Fungi - Xylaria hypoxylon

I know these are really unprepossessing fungi about 15mm tall. You may be wondering whether they are actually bird droppings. I wasn't convinced either when I saw them, thought perhaps they were a form of lichen, but no, definitely stag's horn fungi - and a little bit boldly named I think, although you can see a bit of branching, slightly reminiscent of antlers, on one or two of them. These were in Cemetery Wood, Burnley.

Stags Horn Fungi
Stags Horn Fungi | Source

Scarlet Elf Cup - Sarcoscypha austriaca

It's a fanciful name, but you can't deny that it is a cup shaped fungus or would have been before trampling occurred) and is scarlet and at 15mm small would be suitable for an imaginary elfin being. I found this whilst out doing volunteer dog walking for the local RSPCA. Unfortunately, I saw it 1 second before the dog I was with trod on it. So it isn't looking at its best in the picture. The location was woodland beside the canal towpath between Hapton and Huncoat, around 4 miles from Burnley.

Scarlet Elf Cup fungus
Scarlet Elf Cup fungus | Source

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    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Very interesting hub. I've considered foraging for mushrooms in the past, but have always been a little bit fearful of picking the wrong kind. I know the Penny Bun is edible, but I've never seen one. I also know that you can make plasters for cuts from the Birch Polypore. Voted up etc.

    • winbo profile image

      winbo 5 years ago

      very interesting hub

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thanks both of you - the shaggy inkcap is supposed to be edible to, but I don't find the thought of all that inkiness very appealing. I'm not bold enough (or hungry enough) to try it!

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      Dapperling 5 years ago

      Nice photo's, keep an eye out for st george's mushroom at the moment and dryads saddle both found in Burnley, I know and pick 30 edible species of fungi but not all around Burnley!

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thank you Dapperling - I'm impressed with your fungus identifying abilities. I'm definitely a novice with it, but really enjoy trying to work out what the species are and finding new ones. I shall be on the look out for those two.

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I've got a feeling birch polypore was one of the fungi found on Otzi the iceman, presumably for that very purpose.

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      Dapperling 5 years ago

      St George's are growing next to the electrical substation between centenary way and the bowling alley, will have some on Monday the 23rd, the day they were named after. I have been picking for 30 years but only seriously for the last six or seven, nearly missed I had picked yellow stainer last year, at first I thought they were field mushrooms! These were next to the crown court. I am a bit of a cheat as I only look for the edible but I do look up most new fungi I find although some as I do with birds class them as SBJ (Small Brown Jobs)..

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thanks so much for the tip off Dapperling - I went this morning and saw them, then out of curiosity picked one and had a nibble at it. What can I say other then, ugh - you're very very welcome to all the rest. In one of those bizarre coincidences I then walked along the footpath between Ightenhill and Cornfield Grove for the first time and found my own little group of them towards the grove end.

    • profile image

      Dapperling 5 years ago

      LOL, they are better when cooked, when raw the strong smell of meal puts even me off but I like them fried in butter. That is the thing with fungi although I have eaten 30plus species I only now eat about half of them as the other half are edible but not worthwile or horrible, is was fly fishing down Corfield the other night and had my eye's open for them but didn't spot any, saw a kingfisher, grey wagtail and my first swallow though so all was not wasted, no fish biting either.

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Well I'm glad they're better cooked, I still don't think I'll be having a second bite at them though. I saw the swallows too this morning. I walked down that way, but couldn't decide whether walkers were allowed to go down past the fishing bit to the river or not, although I met a lady in Hagg wood who sounded as though she does that.

      Will keep my eyes open for the wagtails and kingfisher next time.

    • profile image

      Dapperling 5 years ago

      you can walk down to the river and walk along to Gawthorpe. There are horses loose next to the river and one can be a bit lively so keep your eye on it, you will know which one if you go down. There are some opposite leaved golden saxifrage in a pond behind the all weather football pitches next to the river in flower at the moment, if you are interested. I have had a look at your other posts (nice pics), will keep you posted if I see anything good, I saw two otters last month at Altham Bridge so it is a good sign for the Calder..

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thanks Dapperling - I'd definitely be interested in anything else you spot. I've not had a chance to get to the saxifrage yet, but hope to this week. Otters are great news!

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      dapperling 4 years ago

      Not seen much for the last couple of months, just the usual, three otters at once! On the fungi front there are some yellow stainers in the grass by the crown court, these look like horse mushrooms but bruise the edge of the cap and they turn a nice chrome yellow, do not tatse they are worse than st george's. Lots of common spotted orchid about around Rowley.

    • Nettlemere profile image
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      Nettlemere 4 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I love the common spotteds - can't believe how many there are locally. Brilliant that you saw three otters!

      I'll have a look for the stainers. Thanks for the warning on taste. I've spotted quite a lot of (I think) chicken of the woods around Ightenhill park lane.

      I had an entertaining time successfully finding the opposite leaved GS then the following day went over to somewhere near Samlesbury and walked into a great big patch of it.

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