Fungus Fair

Ross D Baker ross.baker at
Sun Jan 31 13:27:20 EST 1999

The message <ant2802510b0fNdQ at>
  from  James Taylor <james at> contains these words: 

............much snipped...............

> > Where are you? I live in the south east of the UK, about 12 miles south
> > east of the centre of London.
> > 
> > Edwin Hutton.

> Sounds close to me (relatively) in Hampton Hill, West London. :-)

I am just down the road from Hampton Hill in Thames Ditton.

> So which group should I be contributing to? I wouldn't want to be
> making off topic posts in a highly scientific forum. As "bionet.mycology"
> sounds more scientific than "alt.nature.mushrooms" I guess that I should
> be posting in the latter (hence followups set to alt.nature.mushrooms).

Like you my interest is amateur, I first subscribed to the group when 
my partner began a Ph D investigating the role of arbuscular 
mycorrhizae in the amelioration of the toxic effects on plants of 
heavy metals in the rhizosphere, but I have found it to carry an 
excellent range of posts from both academics and amateurs.

> This isolated incident would not mean much by itself if it were not
> for the fact that it is representative of a high proportion of
> mushroomers that I've met in the field. I've even seen seasoned
> forayers with specially made flat bottomed collecting baskets
> wondering around for hours having collected just two or three boletes
> (to eat, I was told) in a beech forest ablaze with Laccaria amethystea
> as far as the eye can see. Needless to say, on that occasion I came
> away with a box of the amethest manna big enough to last me a week of
> meals - wow delicious! They can keep their maggoty boletes any day.

The only wild fungus I have eaten is some Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) 
that I found on West End Common but I have often read that L. 
amethystea is very good to eat and have seen plenty around Esher 
Common, but I have never been sure of the best way to prepare them. 
What would you recommend? Incidentally I suspect that a lot of the 
people that collect in this area are doing so commercially and have 
little or no personal interest in the fungi they are gathering.

The Surrey Wildlife Trust used to organise some excellent forays in 
our area, but since the Elmbridge group dissolved there have been 
none. I think they may still take place under the auspices of 
Weybridge Natural History Society, can anyone confirm this?

Ross Baker.
Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK.

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