Charcoal burners and yellow swamp brittlegills
I was hoping for some fungi this week after all the rain we’ve had so I went for a forage at Puttenham. There isn’t much about yet, but the not-very-enticingly-named Yellow Swamp Brittlegill (Russula claroflava) is popping up everywhere. These fungi have a symbiotic (mycorrhizal) relationship with silver birch trees, which we have a lot of in Surrey, so there’ll be plenty of them around over the next month or two. It’s edible and tastes ok, but generally I’ve found that if they’re big enough to be worth eating (they don’t have a very high flesh to gill ratio) then the flies and slugs have had the same idea and they’re full of holes and riddled with maggots. Yum! They’re very pretty though.
Many of the Russula family are edible and they have the added advantage of being quite easy to identify. Another one that is tasty and common in this area is The Charcoal Burner (Russula cyanoxantha), so named because the variety of colours found on the cap are reminiscent of the colours of the flame when charcoal burns.