Sunshine Parasols in a huge faerie ring

Parasol Mushrooms - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There are many huge Parasol Mushrooms in this upland grassland. They are growing in a faerie ring over 60 metres wide and 200 metres around. It must surely be well over 100 years old. Growing at an altitude of 1,500 metres the rate of growth through the soil must be fairly slow, so I’m going to say this faerie ring could be anything up to the age of the end of the last ice age.

This Parasol Mushroom Macrolepiota procera is distinctive and relatively easy to identify. Just its size gives it away.

Parasol Mushrooms - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They smell really strongly of something. It reminds me of… I can’t put my finger on it. Yes, that’s it, they smell really distinctively of Parasol Mushrooms. I’ve heard them described as smelling of maple syrup or of warm milk. It’s such a distinctive smell, though, that it deserves a name all of its own.

They have a very pronounced umbo just like the centre of a shield. Their patterns are wonderful.

Parasol Mushrooms - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

They’re not as big as they might be, but then it’s fruiting very high up in the mountains.

Parasol Mushrooms - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s an untouched meadow with a single ancient organism digesting the organic matter in the soil, with creeping growth centimetre by centimetre as it expands to huge size across hundreds of years. Now that’s magic.

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