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Fungi spectacle at Farnham Heath

Last modified: 01 November 2010

Green elfcup fungus

Image: john 1964

The wildlife charity believes that the wet summer and current mild autumn  means a bumper year for fungi and the RSPB’s Farnham Heath reserve is just one place you can go to discover it.

There is a huge variety of fungi in full glory in the countryside at the moment including veiled poisonpie, slippery jack and beefsteak fungus.

Sophie McCallum, RSPB South East media officer, said: “Fungi might not be the first thing you think about looking for on a day out but some species are fascinating.

“And unlike some wildlife, you are guaranteed to see them as they are everywhere at this time of year, especially after the recent conditions.

Almost a quarter of all species found on RSPB reserves are fungi and with many areas yet to be intensively surveyed, the true figure may be even higher.

RSPB Farnham Heath has over 150 species for you to admire from dinner-plate sized parasols to the dinky fairy bonnets. 

Perhaps the most distinctive and well known is the red and white fly agaric which belongs to the amanita family – a group which includes some of the very poisonous specimens like the death cap and destroying angel. 

There are also false death caps which are white with a lemony yellow tint and ‘The Blusher’ which gets its name from having flesh that bruises pink.

You will find a whole range of milkcaps which exude a milk-like substance when the gills are damaged.  These inlcude liver and rufous milkcaps, along with the aptly named Ugly milkcap and the fenugreek milkcap, which smells enticingly of curry but is in fact slightly poisonous.

You can also find the spongy looking boletus mushrooms, which include the tasty bay boletus and the rather dramatic orange birch bolete. 

Other magnificent specimens are the amethyst deceiver which is shockingly purple . and the conifercone cap, which grows exclusively on fallen pine cones.

You’ll be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of autumn. Feel the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot in the chestnut coppice and watch green woodpeckers feeding.

To find out more about where to go and see fungi near you, visit


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