Having been a bit disappointed by the lack of Mushrooms on last weekend’s official Fungi Foray – we decided yesterday to head out to Chorlton Eees and have bit of a poke around in the underground, proper David Bellamy style, and see what we could find.
I won the “special” prize for finding the first mushroom of the day, Jelly ear (or Jew’s ear), lots of it growing on Elder trees. We also managed to find some clustered domecaps (hundreds of them) and possibly a mushroom called Soapy Knight (or Tricholoma saponaceum) but we can’t be 100% sure. Housemates who have had a sniff think it’s like a bathroom so maybe we are right. In any case, we won’t be eating anything we’re not 100% sure on. (Who’d want to eat soap anyway…)
Not sure about the black fruit which I thought was sloe but I’m not convinced – the leaves seem too big (VIV?). We also picked a couple of apples. Infact I’ve never seen so many apple trees, there must be 100’s of them. The air was full of the smell of fermenting apples. Very nice.
The problem with these wild apple trees is that the Ranger last weekend said they were growing on an old landfill site which contained heavy metals. I had a poke around yesterday looking at old Ordnance survey maps of the area and I don’t think this is true. There was a sewage works (Withington Sewage Works) on part of the Nature Reserve but this is a bit away from where the trees are. So for now I think we are safe.
One thing you find everywhere in the undergrowth/forests is plastic. I’m currently writing an essay on plastic bags and the whole subject is horrifying. I’ll write more about this in the future but even yesterday we found some crisp packets from 1985 and a domestos bottle which had a plastic body and a metal top and looked just as old.
In the evening we cooked up the Jelly ear and will probably make some soup out of it. It does smell extremely mushroomey. And yes, we did check the bible of Mushrooms to make sure we had positively identified it. It’s a pretty obvious one and nothing else much looks like a huge ear!