Wealden Times | WT213 | November 2019 | Gift supplement inside

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Wealden Times - The lifestyle magazine for the Weald

Garden

Bottom left: Powdery mildew on courgettes. Top right:

Many zoned polypore fungus in the wood. Middle right:

Cep and truffles at Menton market. Photo taken by

Caroline Brennan. Bottom right: Amanita muscaria

access to carbohydrate stores, the mycorrhizal fungus

will benefit the trees/plants to absorb minerals and water

with its absorbent mycelium (a network of fine white

filaments) expanding the root system of the host plants.

Some fungi are species specific like Fly Agaric (Amanita

muscaria) which is associated with silver birch (Betula

pendula). This fungi is the stuff of fairy tales and children’s

books with its bright red cap. I have to say that I don’t think

that I have ever seen one, neither have I spotted the bright

orange/yellow Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)

which, unlike the Fly Agaric which is definitely not, is

edible. That’s probably because Fly Agaric fungi tend to be

found in mixed woodlands and heaths growing on a light,

well-drained soil amongst birch and evergreens, such as

spruce and pines, rather than on our heavy Wealden clay.

Wandering around the dried out woods near home

earlier in the week in the forlorn hope of spotting some

handsome fungi I met a runner who was holidaying

from lovely Derbyshire. He was telling me that it has

been a very wet summer for them unlike us in the

parched South East and that there is plenty of Chicken

of the Woods on their oak trees up there. He also said

that their trees had made noticeable growth spurts.

And a couple of days later, walking this time in Dulwich

Park in London (oh, there are some spectacular trees in

that park. Particularly wondrous is a giant Turkey Oak,

Quercus cerris, with its branches coming down around

it just like a massive skirt), we spotted a fenced off area

where the information board boasted pictures of this

particular bracket fungus. I wondered if they would

have minded us cutting off a bit of one to fry up with

a little garlic, oil and butter when we got home…

“Fly Agaric fungi tend to be

found in mixed woodlands

and heaths growing on a light,

well-drained soil amongst

birch and evergreens”

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