Parrots in the grass

I’m walking on Orley Common and there are parrots in the grass. No, not these kinds of parrots:

Rome’s Rose-Ringed Parakeets

I mean the Parrot Waxcap fungus Gliophorus psittacinus:

Parrot Waxcap - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Waxcaps are some of my favourite fungi. There are plenty in Orkney in the places artificial fertiliser has never been: high up on Fitty Hill, on roadside verges and in my back garden:


Orley Common is a special kind of place because nobody owns it. That means it hasn’t be extensively exploited and the soil hasn’t been ruined. It was never in anyone’s commercial interests to ‘improve’ the land so it hasn’t been wrecked with artificial fertiliser which kills most of the vitally important fungi growing through the soil. Waxcaps only grow where artificial fertiliser hasn’t been used in the last 30 years.

A walk on Orley Common

It’s vitally important to our wildlife and our wild human life that we massively expand the amount of common land, owned by the community. I’d like to see us abandon places for wildlife and let nature get on with it.

Wildlife. The clue’s in the name. We shouldn’t leave it to live on the verges:

As rare as Witches’ Hats

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