Fungi comes in all joyous shapes and colours, and is everywhere in the UK. Some might make you blush, some may inspire you to wonder for the world beyond. Some may remind you that despite everything – nature is awesome.
One quick safety point before we start: this article is meant as lighthearted introduction to the UK’s amazing fungi, so you shouldn’t use it as a guide to finding edible mushrooms. Ok, let’s get to appreciating some of the UK’s most fantastic fungi!
1. Fly agarics
Arguably the most famous fungus of them all. Not only is it an emoji, you’ll find depictions of the red and white mushroom in fashion, art, film, and video games.
You’ll find them under Birch trees in woodland around late summer and autumn. Despite their fairytale appearance, Fly agarics are toxic. So best not try this one at home.
Scientific name: Amanita muscaria
2. Devil’s Fingers aka octopus stinkhorn or octopus fungus
Ok, so these lil creatures are rare in the UK. But they’re too amazing to leave off the list.
This fungi looks like one of Cthulhu’s pets from the underworld. Its life cycle is straight out of a horror movie. First it hatches from a slimy, gelatinous ‘egg’. As it grows, the bright red tentacle-like arms erupt from the egg like something from your worst nightmares. Watch the timelapse above to see what I mean. It also has a strong and unpleasant smell – just my kind of lockdown vibe.
Scientific name: Clathrus archeri
3. Witches butter aka yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler
This fungus looks like a gelatinous, deliciously disgusting, bright, yellow mess. And most definitely has the best nicknames of the lot.