One of the most common fungi in UK woodlands is The Blusher. I’ve just found this photograph I took of one back in October. Its scientific name is Amanita rubescens and it’s a relative of the Fly Agaric, the familiar fairytale mushroom, Amanita muscaria.
The Blusher is distinctive because it bruises a wonderful dull red when damaged. They were one of the first fungi I learned to identify as a child. I was fascinated by them being poisonous when raw, but edible when cooked, and dangerous because they are sometimes confused with other poisonous species.
Fungi are often found over vast areas of the world because of their microscopic spores. They can travel huge distances higher in the atmosphere. Blushers are found throughout Europe, where they grow in association with trees. Just 13% of the UK is now covered in trees, and many of those are commercial plantations of non-native species. Embarrassing, isn’t it?