The death cap is the most deadly of all fungi, a lethal dose being as little as 20g. What makes it most dangerous is that symptoms do not usually show until 6 – 24 hours after ingestion, and by this time it is often too late for effective treatment. Anyone considering eating wild mushrooms should be able to identify it.
In the odd world of fungi, the hedgehog mushroom still manages to stand out as eccentric. Its the joker in the pack, and for anyone who is struggling to get to grips with identifying edible wild mushrooms, its refusal to conform to even the loosest of mycological norms make it a godsend. Better still, it is fairly common, immune to insect attack and very tasty.
Shaggy ink caps can usually be found growing in the same place year after year – often in urban environments. As with all ink caps, spore dispersal is by means of deliquesing whereby the entire cap liquifies from the bottom up, often leaving only the stipe and a disc of cap
Giant puffballs are a joy to stumble upon. Actively hunting for them can be a waste of time as they are eccentric in when and where they grow. Smaller types of puffballs turn up on most forays.
These are visually stunning mushrooms and almost as good gastronomically, made all the more special by their relative scarcity – I seldom find more than a handful a year. You don’t need to find many though – they can grow very large.