Wimpole estate is well endowed with a rich assemblage of fungi. Different habitats for fungi mean that they range from those that grow on the trees and deadwood (those that are symbiotic with trees and help the tree roots get extra nutrients and water and in return in the autumn provide the same so that the underground mycelium of the fungi can grow toadstools above ground to spread the spores) to the grassland species which include the Field mushroom and the pretty Waxcaps.
Then there are the species that infect plant leaves, some like Tar spot on Sycamore trees to Rusts on Wheat and other grasses. We even have Ergot which also infects the Wheat but does so by making the grain very large and purple (very, very poisonous). We also have the Cup fungi, very simple but in some cases very pretty like the woodland Scarlet Elf Cap and Orange Peel fungi.
A list of species found at Wimpole will be available as we update pages but in the meantime you can always check out the British Mycological Society for more general information and for the code for picking mushrooms click here.
There is a fungi walk in the autumn, but please do remember that in dry years the East of England, which includes Wimpole, can be very dry and as a result grassland fungi are not very plentiful. The good news is that the fungi on trees is, and in such conditions we plan the main walk around fungi on trees and their ecology. Some species are edible like the Spiny Coral fungus, but that’s very rare so people are asked not to pick this one if found. Others like Chicken of the Woods is reasonably common and very tasty WHEN YOUNG, not so when older, a small portion can be taken but remember to leave some.