It’s fungi season again folks, and our woodland recyclers are back in full swing after lying dormant and unseen for most of the year. When conditions are right, and the surrounding vegetation is dying back for the colder winter months, fungi make the most of the moisture and rotting materials on which they gain their nutrients. An array of spectacular fruiting bodies appear, in order to produce and spread their spores through a variety of means.
It is these fruiting bodies that humans have been fascinated by for centuries. They have also been used, and in some cases exploited, for a wide variety of purposes, from medicinal and nutritional, to shamanic and poisonous. The stories and mythology relating to fungi are extensive, and on Sunday afternoon we’ll be joining Richard Smith from Fife Council, at Findatie car park for a walk into Levenmouth woods in search of some of these fruiting bodies. We’ll be talking more about their stories, as well as their crucial biological roll as recyclers of rotting vegetation. In some cases they act as excellent woodland managers, by parasitizing and killing individual trees, thereby creating openings that become woodland glades and allow a richer diversity of plants to grow within the understory.
A cycle around the Heritage Trail on Wednesday allowed me to have a quick look around to see if there was any sign of fungi emerging yet, and I was pleased to be able to capture a few shots of what we will hopefully be finding on Sunday. It’s not too late to join us, but if you’d like to, then please do call the reserve office on 01577 864439 before Sunday and leave a message to book your place.