The 2023 season

As I write it is August and raining!  This could be good for Boletus edulis, otherwise known as the Cep, Porcino or Penny Bun, generally considered the finest edible mushroom.  It likes cool wet weather.  Look for it now until the weather gets cold.

Field mushrooms and Parasol mushrooms are also appearing now.  The Field mushroom is the ancestor of the familiar cultivated mushroom.  It and most of its close relatives are all edible and good with the exception of one, the Yellow Stainer.  This gets its name because if you bruise the cap or stem it will go bright yellow, other relatives of the cultivated mushroom bruise red-brown. Never neglect to do this test, if you eat a Yellow Stainer you will regret it!

You may have seen some coverage of a fatal poisoning due to eating mushrooms that took place in Australia.  In this Case the victims had eaten Death Cap.  This is the most deadly mushroom there is.  It is native to the UK and is not uncommon.  It is found growing near Oak trees.  It is not native to Australia but has arrived there and spread.  It probably arrived as spores with imported plants.  This is definitely one to get to know so that you stay safe when foraging.  We cover how to recognise this in our courses.

Peter Sibley