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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Habitat, substrate & time of year

A lot can be resolved simply by knowing where and when a mushroom is found. Habitat: The two main habitats are Wood and Grassland, but also make note what types. ie. Is it in broadleaved, coniferous or mixed woodland? Is the grassland in an urban setting such as a garden or roadside? Is it in a meadow, pasture field or near a hedgerow? Substrate: (the base on which an organism lives): This is also a very important identification feature. Note the following: In grassland: • Does it grow in soil/grass or on dung etc.? • Does it grow on wood chippings, compost, sawdust etc? In or near woodland: • Is it growing nearby a tree(s) – What is the tree variety? • Is it in a clearing (grass or leaf litter etc.)? • Does it grow on a living tree? • Is it on a dying or dead tree? Is it on a tree stump? • Is it growing on dead wood, fallen branches or twigs etc.? • Is it near dead wood? (some species feed off and are attached to dead wood buried underground and therefore not visible) Time of year: The main mushroom season begins from late summer through to early winter, but many may grow earlier in the season, starting in the Spring/Summer. Others (especially bracket fungus) can last all year round and winter is host to a few exclusive (and edible) species. Simply make a note of when you make your discovery. Mushrooms and all fungi often (but not always) choose the same time and place to appear every year.