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Finding Fungi in Burnley, Lancashire
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.