Species Of The Week Number 3: Wood Blewit

Eyes down people! The autumn is a brilliant time for finding mushrooms in the valley and our community of citizen scientists have already spotted 8 species with some fantastic common names.

Puffball, Shaggy Inkcap, Sulphur Tuft, Glistening Inkcap, Honeyfungus, Earthball, Bonnets and Conifer Parasol are all mushrooming away in Meanwood right now.

Wood Blewit is widespread and common in the UK and across the world. You can find it in the leaf litter in Meanwood woodland and under hedgerows. When young they have a strong bluish lilac colour in both the cap and in the underneath gills.

We will all have noticed cooler temperatures recently and the Blewits are proof of that - as they only start to appear when the temperature drops to below 17 degrees as they like the cold and will survive a frost quite easily.

Wood Blewit (like some other species) can grow in a ring or circular pattern, known as fairy rings. In the past people thought the rings were where fairies would meet and dance, or that they were a doorway between human and fairy worlds. Those treading inside them were at risk of disappearing, and/or at risk of an early death. So tread carefully friends.

The rings are actually a natural phenomenon resulting from the way the Blewit grows underground. Starting at a single point it grows outwards in a circular motion, searching for more nutrients.

The terms mushroom and toadstool can sometimes be used interchangeably, although toadstools sometimes just mean inedible mushrooms. In either case don't eat them unless you are certain of the identification because mushrooms such as Death Cap were named for a reason...

Overall mushrooms are part of the fungus kingdom which also includes yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews and molds. Without this kingdom our lives would be bereft of leavened bread, wine and penicillin. So pretty crucial one way or another.

Posted by clunym clunym, October 12, 2022 03:06 PM

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