At this time of the year, as the autumn mists start to roll in, signalling the end of the summer days and the start of the cooler and more wintery weather, many people don’t go out into the woods or countryside to enjoy walks. This is a real shame as autumn has a whole world of interesting natural wonders to enjoy spotting – wrap up warm in Aran Sweaters from Shamrock Gift and get the family out on a fungi hunt!
Fungi are essential to the ecosystem and although many people may feel repulsed by these often weird looking organisms, they play a crucial role in keeping the woodlands healthy. They help to break down all of the decaying plant matter, as well as the dead animals in the woodland, recycling it and keeping the woodlands clean. Their part in the life cycle of the forests is crucial and it is believed that the fungi and the trees are able to communicate with one another and work together to keep the area healthy.
The mushrooms and fungi that can be found in the countryside are numerous and varied. From the giant puffballs which are also a culinary delight, to the strange witches’ butter, which is bright yellow and rubbery, seemingly oozing from rotting wood. Of course, the mushroom that most of us are familiar with is the Fly Agaric – the red mushroom with the white spots seen so often in fairy stories. However, do not attempt to touch this one as it is also extremely poisonous.