Ah, the joys of shrooming in late Autumn sunshine….

The second of my annual mushroom hunting trips this morning with Clive “Professor Boletus” Lawson was another exciting morning of intense fungal activity. Clive shrugged off the effects of another unplanned Saturday morning hangover to reach my flat by 7.15am, from where we shimmied round to the Bacon butty shop which quickly revived the spirits and the conversation. This time we went to Ashtead Common (off the A243 south of Chessington Advetures, north of Leatherhead) to indulge our shrooming passions. As you’ll see, it was a stunning Autumn morning with low sunshine dappling the ferns through this ancient forest.

This year has been fruitless for us in terms of edible species, but we delighted in finding some excellent Fly Agarics (Amanita Muscaria) which, although popular in folklore and fairy tales, are actually quite difficult to find in such good condition. They’re known for certain hallucinogenic properties, although they certainly should not be eaten since you’ll get a bad stomach upset. The deer love them – in the Middle Ages, people would drink the urine of someone who had eaten these shrooms in a dried form – this is said to be the origin of the phrase “getting pissed”. Finding a deadly Death Cap (Amanita Phalloides) was a moment fungoid Heaven. All the pictures below(click on the title to see the picture) –

A fine specimen of Fly Agaric

Professor Boletus gets intimate with Aminata Muscaria

A slightly younger Fly Agaric (the white scales just beginning to form)

Me with some Glistening Inkcaps

Unidentified mushrooms at the foot of an ancient Oak Tree

I got terribly overexcited by the Fly Agarics…

… and scared witless by the Death Cap

And here’s Doctor Boletus again turning into Kilroy. “Wot no edible mushrooms?”


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