A Bounty of Bay Boletes

The ground on Trendlebere Down is full of surprises at this time of year. In amongst the understory of bracken and bilberries are glorious fungi. These beauties are a marvellous chestnut brown colour with chunky patterned stems. This one is Imleria badia, once known as Boletus badius. It’s a Bay Bolete.

Bay Bolete - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Unlike other fungi, which can be deadly poisonous, this one is edible and delicious. Having said that, fungi grow for surprising distances underground and seek out unusual chemicals and elements which they then transfer to their fruiting bodies, the mushrooms which we can see overground. They have a talent for bioaccumulation of things like mercury, cobalt, and nickel which aren’t too healthy for humans. Just to top it all off, Bay Boletes have a pigment that concentrates radioactive caesium. That wouldn’t be an issue if the Chernobyl disaster hadn’t spread radioactive caesium over large parts of Europe.

Bay Bolete - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I wonder if these mushrooms glow in the dark?

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