Outdoors

Mycology is fun, guys!

Mushrooms growing in the soil

When I joined this U3A hoping to make some friends locally I didn’t find any groups I was keen to join so I thought I should start one. Fungi seemed to be something I knew a bit about and the group has had a small ever changing but enthusiastic membership ever since. They have almost all been total beginners. We make it clear that we want to learn to identify some of the very many different species to be found rather than looking for fungi to pick and eat. I think the best way to begin to learn is to see them growing in their natural habitat and in all stages of development. It seems easier to learn this way than to look in a book or listen to a lecture. We are well placed in SE London to go a little way out into Kent to a number of different mostly woodland sites. Most fungi fruit in the autumn so we go out more often then than in the rest of the year though there is always some fungus of some sort to be seen and we also look at wild flowers a bit. In really bad winter weather we meet indoors covering requested topics or looking at my large collection of books on fungi or looking at characters only visible under the microscope. Mycology, the word for the study of fungi of all sorts, is a huge subject including far more than common woodland toadstools and is endlessly fascinating.