Some beginner's questions...

Edwin Hutton e.hutton at
Fri Oct 20 07:06:29 EST 2000

Paul F Hamlyn wrote:
> 'Chicken-of-the-woods' is not the same as 'Hen-of-the-woods'. In fact
> Laetiporus sulphureus does appear in the Collins Field Guide by Courtecuisse
> &Duhem on page 59 in the 2nd part of Key 3. In a small field guide like this
> you cannot expect to find a colour picture for all the 3000 odd species of
> larger fungi found in the UK.

There is at least one more fungus difficult to find in Courtecuisse
and Duhem, viz. Giant Puffball (Langermannia Gigantea). It is
mentioned in the intrduction somewhere but not in the illustrated
section. I wonder if there are any more?

Russula Atropurpurea is a very variable mushroom. I always have to
taste them to be sure, it as sharp but not very much compared to
the other sharp tasting russulae. Use the key to
check on your russulae. I haven't my copy of the book to hand at
present but I would be surprised if that one was missing.
There is a _section_ Atropurpureae as you say,
this is part of the standard classification.

> For a beginner I would recommend Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain
> and Europe by Roger Phillips (Pan Books).

This is almost essential - although you won't want to carry it about
with you. Unfortunately far from complete (only 900 species, being
the ones he had specimens to photograph). A beautiful book.

> There are many species of fungi
> and it can seem very confusing at first so the best advice I can give you is
> to join your nearest fungus recording group and go out with experts who can
> help you to recognise the main groups (i.e. genera) of fungi. Once you can
> assign an unknown fungus to the correct genus then it is much easier to work
> out what the species is. I have set up a new Web site at
> <> which includes links to a number of fungus recording
> groups in the UK - you should be able to find one within about 50 miles from
> you. My own local group, North West Fungus Group, only charges £5 for
> membership.
> >When describing gills, what is the difference between 'adnate' and 'free'?
> Free - gills not attached to the stem (cap and stem easily separated)
> Adnate - gills fully attached to stem
> Hope this helps
> Paul F Hamlyn
> NW Fungus Group
> <k_bob at> wrote in message news:8sm918$fm0$1 at
> > I'm a beginner in this field and was hoping somebody could answer some
> > questions that I have. I live in England.
> >
> > I have recently bought the Collins Field Guide by Courtecuisse&Duhem.
> > Why can't I find Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus Sulphireus) in
> > Courtecuisse? Is this species the same as Hen-of-the-woods (Grifola
> > Frondosa)? Similarly with the Cauliflower Fungus (Sparassis Crispa);
> > does this species have another name? Is it common for species to have
> > more than one Latin name?
> >
> > When describing gills, what is the difference between 'adnate' and
> > 'free'?
> >
> > I found a 'new' species yesterday which I'm pretty confident is a
> > Russula. I also have a 'Green Guide' book showing just 150 species.
> > >From this I would identify it as a Russula Atropurpurea (Black-and-
> > purple Russula) but this species is not in Courtecuisse. Instead there
> > is a whole sub-sect called Atropurpureae, none of which seems quite
> > right. The smaller ones were domed and the larger ones had the classic
> > Russula funnel shape. About as tall as they were broad. White Stipe
> > covered in vertical 'scars', felt firm but inside was moist and crisp
> > when squashed. White gills ran straight from edge of cap then stopped
> > neatly at top of stipe. A few gills started at edge of cap but stopped
> > before reaching the stem but most were complete. Spores looked very
> > pale. Cap thick and firm. Deep pink with darker (black?) centre. One
> > very wet example had had its colour leached out and was a pale pink.
> > They were growing over several square meteres of ground on grass under
> > an oak. Any ideas on how to pin down the ID on this one?
> >
> > Thanks for any help, ideas or advise.
> >
> >
Edwin Hutton

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