I bring to you all the creepiest mushrooms in time for Halloween…as if the mycological world isn’t odd enough already!
- 1) Dissolving into Black Goo : Ink Caps First prize for disgusting mess goes to the Ink Cap family (Coprinus sps). Some, like the Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus) are good to eat when young and drumstick shaped. Once they age they deliquesce – dissolving into a slimy puddle of jet black Ink which can really mess up your clothes. This ink can actually be used for writing! Also, the Common Ink Cap (Coprinus atramentarius) is used in medicine form to make alcoholics vomit if they drink any alcohol.
2) Tree Murderer: Honey Fungus
This ruthless fungus kills live trees. You do not want It in your garden. However, when young It is good to eat, unless you are one of the unlucky ones that has a reaction to it and spend the next few days spewing and on the toilet….Waitrose include it in their dried mushroom selection, so I am assuming they know what they are doing….
3) Most Corpselike: Dead Man’s Fingers
This Xylaria family member really does look like the black shrivelled fingers of a hurriedly buried corpse. If you break one off it is hard to the touch and white inside, just like a bone…urrgh. Don’t bother trying to eat it (just in case any of you might possibly want to).
4) Most Bloody: Beefsteak Fungus & Bleeding Mycena
This joint prize goes to the gory Beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica) which feels and looks like someone’s stolen liver. Please don’t ask how I know this 😅. The Beefsteak bleeds red gore when cut. Then you can take it home, slice it finely and fry it with some onions, just like a real liver. The taste can be a bit acrid, and salty. Some cannibals enjoy it raw.
The prize is shared by the Bleeding Mycena and the Orange Milk Mycena, both of whom Bleed all over your hands when you pick them. Lovely. Inedible, but actually quite pretty, until it drips all over you like a slender vampiric bride.
5) Most Disgusting and Smelly: Dog Stinkhorn
Mutinus caninus is also related to Phallus impudicus, the Stinkhorn. Both of them stink like rotten flesh and blocked sewer drains. It takes ages for the odour to go away. The mushroom does this to attract flies, which help spread its spores. It also looks like an erect penis, one that hasn ‘t been washed for quite a while!
Well I hope that has managed to put you off your dinner. That’s just some of the weird and freakish fungi that myself and Phil have found recently. Do come on a Fungi Foray with us, if you dare! Check Hedgewitch Adventures Facebook Page for upcoming dates or send me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org