A horse mushroom in its prime is a thing of great beauty and superb flavour. It also has the curious dual distinction of being commonly misidentified and widely underrated.
In bleak midwinter, when mycophogists start to look hungry and haunted by the paucity of pickings, velvet shank (flamunilla velutipes) can put a glint back in their eye. It grows between November and March, when, in Scotland, there are very few other mushrooms about.
Wood blewits generally do not appear until there has been at least a light frost. This makes them doubly appealing as other top gourmet mushrooms can become scarce at this point in the season. And make no mistake – these are right up the top tier of the finest edible fungi.
A very common, large mushroom of late autumn, the clouded agaric is on of those awkward fungi that not everyone “gets on with”. Never the less, it is well worth acquainting yourself with it as most late autumn forays will come across it.
Among the stellar array of colourful, sculpturesque and eccentric wild mushrooms, the waxcap family (hygrocybes) shine brightest. They are the rare, beautiful jewels of the fungi world, shining like rubies, emeralds and diamonds in late autumn meadows, lawns and graveyards.