12 easy to identify British mushrooms

Mushroom and fungi foraging in Hampshire, unveils a captivating world of culinary treasures nestled within its diverse landscapes. From the enchanting New Forest to the undulating South Downs, this region is a haven for foragers seeking the delights of wild mushrooms. Discover a mycological wonderland as you explore the woodlands, uncovering delectable varieties like chanterelles, porcini, and hedgehog mushrooms. Hampshire's rich biodiversity offers a unique foraging experience, with each season revealing new fungal wonders waiting to be harvested.

Foraging enthusiasts in Hampshire can enhance their fungi-finding adventures by joining one of our foraging workshops. These experiences provide valuable insights into the identification and sustainable harvesting practices of wild mushrooms under the watchful eye of an expert forager. Embrace the thrill of hunting for nature's bounty while fostering a deeper connection with Hampshire's ecosystems. Whether you're a novice or seasoned forager, unlocking the secrets of edible fungi in Hampshire promises a rewarding and immersive experience, blending the joy of discovery with a sustainable approach to local, seasonal ingredients.

From the delicate fungal blossoms of spring to the robust species that brave the winter chill, the UK is home to a rich tapestry of mushrooms and fungi. Join us on this mushroom pilgrimage, as we unveil a species for every month, unveiling the magic beneath our feet ........

January: Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes) Amidst the winter chill, the Velvet Shank emerges, a resilient mushroom that thrives in cold temperatures. Found on deciduous trees, particularly on elm, this elegant fungus displays a velvety cap and a slender stem. Often orange-brown in color, the Velvet Shank stands out against the muted winter landscape, offering a splash of warmth to those who spot it.

February: Winter Polypore (Polyporus brumalis) Venturing into February, the Winter Polypore graces us with its presence. This woody bracket fungus can be spotted on various broad-leaved trees, including oaks and beeches. Despite its somewhat unassuming appearance, the Winter Polypore plays a vital role in breaking down wood, contributing to the cycle of decay and renewal within the forest ecosystem.

March: Scarlet Elf Cup (Sarcoscypha coccinea) As spring begins to unfurl, the Scarlet Elf Cup makes its debut. This stunning fungus appears on decaying wood, often hidden amidst leaf litter. Resembling vibrant red cups, these delicate fungi are a sight to behold, signaling the awakening of nature after the winter slumber.

April: Morel Mushroom (Morchella spp.) April brings forth the elusive Morel Mushroom, a sought-after delicacy among foragers. Emerging in woodland areas, these distinctive mushrooms boast a unique honeycomb appearance. Prized for their rich, nutty flavor, Morels add a gourmet touch to springtime dishes.

May: St. George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) Named after St. George's Day on April 23, these mushrooms often continue to flourish into May. Recognized by their distinctive aniseed scent, St. George's Mushrooms can be found in grassy areas and meadows. Their appearance marks the arrival of warmer days and the transition from spring to summer.

June: Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) With the arrival of summer, the Chicken of the Woods takes center stage. This vibrant orange-yellow fungus grows in large brackets on the trunks of living or dead trees, resembling a cluster of overlapping feathers. A favorite among foragers, this edible mushroom is known for its unique texture and mild taste.

July: Chanterelle Mushroom (Cantharellus cibarius) July heralds the arrival of the Chanterelle Mushroom, a golden-hued delight that carpets the forest floor. Often found near oak and beech trees, these fruity-smelling mushrooms add a touch of elegance to woodland landscapes. Known for their exquisite taste, Chanterelles are a prized find for culinary enthusiasts.

August: Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) As summer matures, the Giant Puffball makes its appearance. Sporting a white, smooth exterior, these massive fungi can grow to impressive sizes. Often found in grassy areas and meadows, the Giant Puffball releases clouds of spores when disturbed—a whimsical feature that adds to its allure.

September: Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) With the arrival of autumn, the iconic Fly Agaric graces woodlands with its distinctive red cap adorned with white spots. Although visually striking, this mushroom is toxic and should be admired from a distance. Often associated with fairy tales and folklore, the Fly Agaric adds a touch of enchantment to autumnal landscapes.

October: Hedgehog Mushroom (Hydnum repandum) October introduces us to the Hedgehog Mushroom, named for the spiky tooth-like structures on its cap's underside. Found in woodlands and grassy areas, these mushrooms are known for their delicious flavor and are a favorite among foragers. The Hedgehog Mushroom's warm colors echo the changing hues of autumn leaves.

November: Deceiver Mushroom (Laccaria laccata) As autumn transitions to winter, the Deceiver Mushroom takes the spotlight. Despite its unassuming appearance, this versatile fungus can be found in a variety of colors, making it a master of disguise. The Deceiver Mushroom often grows in clusters, adding a touch of mystery to late autumn landscapes.

December: Yellow Stagshorn (Calocera viscosa) In the heart of winter, the Yellow Stagshorn graces woodlands with its gelatinous, yellow-orange branches. Often found on decaying coniferous wood, this winter mushroom adds a splash of color to the frost-kissed landscape. Its unusual appearance and resilience in colder months make it a fitting finale to our year-long fungal exploration.

This information is supplier by an experienced forager. If you are ever in doubt about the identification of any plant or mushroom, do NOT eat it

For more information about our own Foraging Workshops which run throughout the year, please click here

"I took my mum, sister and my partner and had an absolutely fantastic time at the Winter Foraging and Fungi Workshop yesterday. Freya was a super host, really knowledgeable, fun and engaging. We were all newbies to foraging and despite the rain had the best time! It was so nice for the four of us to spend some quality time together doing something different and learning something new. We can’t wait to find our next activity with Experience Hampshire!"

"I had an absolutely fantastic time at the Foraging Workshop led by Freya! Her expertise in mushroom gathering was truly impressive, and she made the entire experience both educational and enjoyable.

Freya's knowledge of the local flora and fauna, particularly when it came to mushrooms, was outstanding. She took the time to explain not only how to identify different species but also their culinary uses and potential medicinal benefits. It was clear that she had a deep passion for the subject, and her enthusiasm was infectious.

What really set this workshop apart was Freya's friendly and fun personality. She created a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone in the group. Her patience in answering questions and offering guidance to beginners like myself was greatly appreciated. It felt like spending the day with a knowledgeable friend rather than an instructor.

I would highly recommend Freya's Foraging Workshop to anyone interested in learning more about the incredible world of mushroom gathering and foraging. It's an educational, fun, and enriching experience that you won't want to miss. Thank you, Freya, for an unforgettable day!"

All of our countryside workshops are run on private land with the permission of the landowner:

Gambledown Farm, Romsey

The Retreat, New Forest

Rushmere Farm, Hambledon

Laverstoke Park Farm, Basingstoke

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