If you know me you’ll know that I love nature. There’s nothing as refreshing as a walk on the beach or a stroll through the woods. I love all the seasons but Autumn is my favourite; for many reasons. I love the crispy morning air, the cool temperature, weaning myself back into my winter woolies and warm boots.
An Autumn wood is always beautiful. The earthy smells are so invigorating and uplifting. The damp fallen leaves have their own scent too; sweet and sometimes musky. Even the trees have their own unique smell!
Last weekend we took a walk in Drummin Wood, which is located between Foxford and Pontoon R318 (Co.Mayo). The first thing I noticed was the wood’s natural beauty. It’s untouched; pure and authentic!
It was a showery balmy evening, and the greenery glistened with raindrops. The fresh earthy smells slowed me down, so that all I wanted to do was stand to take deep breaths. To breath in its powerful yet fragile essence. One of the most soul reviving treats you could give yourself!
My eyes scanned the mossy ridges around the thin tree trunks. I knew what I was looking for; I found it without having to look very hard. Toadstool paradise! Is there anything more interesting than mushrooms and toadstools? I find them fascinating. I was in my element. Of course I had my little Nikon with me. Always take your camera to the woods because you never know what surprises nature will spring on you.
I’m not even close to being an expert on mushrooms so I had to do some research to try and identify these. I learned that there are at least 2,500 species of fungi in Ireland, so I didn’t do very well in identifying mine when all I have are photos. Some are very easy to identify while others are not so straightforward – for an amateur. For some toadstools and mushrooms, the gills and stalks need to be examined as well, to determine the exact species.
I would love to learn how to forage wild mushrooms. I might make some enquiries in my local area and see if a day in the woods with an expert can be arranged. That’d be brilliant! Yes…I can see myself heading off into the woods with my little basket and mushroom knife. Mushroom risotto for dinner! Oh… I just remembered, my two friends have recently become expert basket weavers, so that’s my basket sorted! Thank you Tina and Fidelma.
If anyone out there can help me identify these fungi beauties, please do.
There are so many of these pink mushrooms growing in Drummin Wood. On one website they’re identified as Hebeloma crustuliniforme; commonly known as poison pie. But I could only find white poison pie everywhere else. (None are pink.) So I’m not sure what these are. Do they turn pink as they mature?
This one was easy to identify because of its shape and little spikes. It’s a Lycoperdon perlatum; commonly known as a puffball. These are edible when they’re young and milky white like this one. But not good to eat when they’re brown and mature (see below). I think every child enjoys stomping on them to see the the grey dust puff into the air; I know I did.
I call these toadstools rather than mushrooms. I couldn’t identify them for certain. When we were children we called them dog’s toodles. We were told by the adults not to touch them because they’d sicken us.
These are my favourite. Only once before have I seen one in real life. Very easy to identify; Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita. Aren’t they beautiful? They’re classified as poisonous but some people eat them for their hallucinogenic properties. Seriously? I’m certainly not recommending that. Read this and stick to admiring them!
I thought these were Boletus edulis commonly known as Cep. To be honest I’m really not sure.
Because of its yellow cap, I thought this might be a type of Chanterelle. I wish I knew.
The rest I couldn’t even guess. If I find out in the meantime, I’ll come back and edit my post. Let me know if you can shine any light on my shrooms!
Have you ever foraged for mushrooms? Have you eaten them?
Let me know if you can identify any of these, or if you know of any local mushroom experts!