Showing posts from June, 2012

The Prince (Agaricus augustus)

The Prince (Agaricus augustus), a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. This is a striking mushroom of broad-leaved woodland but it also occurs on lawns and in parks where there are scattered broad-leaved trees. It is widespread but not particularly common but does thrive on more calcareous soils where it can be quite numerous where it occurs. Given Dorset's geology this should be a good place to find them.
It is primarily a summer species which may account for its name 'augustus' (seen in August!) but also can be found in autumn. It occurs mainly in small groups but sometimes in troops. It is edible and very good (so I understand from my books!).
Find out more about The Prince in Dorset here:

Konrads Parasol (Macrolepiota konradii)

Konrads Parasol (Macrolepiota konradii), a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. This is a rather uncommon species that occurs on open woodland rides and woodland edges in Southern England, notably on heathland and Dorset has its share of that!
A 'mushroom' but one of the parasol type with a flatish cap (rather than the convex cap of the 'edible' mushrooms) which can be between 7 and 12cm in width. Look also for the ring of flesh around the stipe where the cap parted company with it after emergence; this is a ghuide to the group raather than the actual species.
This species can be found in late summer and in to late autumn and it is edible but as an uncommon species it is best left to reproduce and ensure future generations of the species survive.
Find out more about Konrads Parasol in Dorset here:

Wood Mushroom (Agaricus silvicola)

Wood Mushroom (Agaricus silvicola), a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. The Wood Mushroom is the woodland equivillent of the Field Mushroom! Rather than appearing on grassland the Wood Mushroom lives up to its name and can be found in both deciduous and confirerous woods; it has a liking for beech trees. It has a creamy cap that can tinge yellow and has a scent of aniseed. It is an autumn species that tends to occur on open soil rather than amongst leaf litter so look for it on banks and sloping ground free of lying leaves. It usually occurs in small groups but it can also appear in troops as well.
This is a widespread species but not that common. It can be found in the autumn and is edible; but is best avoided in case of confusion with some of the deadly amanita species.
Find out more about the Wood Mushroom in Dorset here:

Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris)

Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris), a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. The Field Mushroom was once common but is now declining. It was the original edible mushrooms but they now much harder to find and cultivated species now for the basis of supplies in our supermarkets.

They occur on fairly rich soils, usually amongst grass and often in troops (large groups) in the summer and in to the autumn. They first appear as 'buttons' but soon grow to have the distinctive smooth, white cap with black or very dark brown gills. The cap can be anything from 5 to 10 cms across.

As I said, they are good to eat but you need to be absolutely certain that what you are picking are Field Mushrooms!

Find out more about the Field Mushroom in Dorset here:

Early Gentian (Gentianella anglica)

Early Gentian (Gentianella anglica), a photo by Peter Orchard on Flickr. It may be stating the obvious but the nature of the soil in any one place will have a profound effect on the flora which grows there. The underlying rock affects the extent to which soil is either acidic or alkaline. Calcareous rocks such as chalk and limestone are alkaline and Dorset has a lot of limestone along its coast line as well as chalk on the Purbeck ridge and the north Dorset ridge. The Early Gentian is a very uncommon little flower that thrives on limestone.

The Early Gentian is similar to the Autumn Gentian but somewhat smaller and flowers in May and early June where as the Autumn Gentian flowers in Late August and in September. Early Gentian is restricted mainly to limestone and can be found at Durlston and Portland whereas Autumn Gentian likes chalk and so is more widespread in the county.

Find out more about the Early Gentian here…