Fascinating fungi

Autumn wildlife

Fascinating fungi

Mark Robinson

Mushrooms and toadstools

From chicken of the woods and King Alfred’s cakes, to pink ballerinas and scarlet elf cups, there are more than 15,000 curiously named fungi species in the UK, making up an entire kingdom of their own.

Autumn is the best time to go in search of fungi and you may well be surprised at just how many you find!

Every habitat is home to a great variety of fungi, and autumn is the best time to explore this little-visited world

Fungi foray

As well as many delicious wild mushrooms, fungi also include some of our most poisonous species, aptly named species such as the sickener, poison pie, death cap and the destroying angel.

NEVER touch or eat any fungi you find unless you are 100% certain about their identity. Unless you are with an expert, it is best to leave mushrooms where you find them - that way, others can enjoy their beauty. If you're unsure on the species, take a photo and identify it at home later.

We have plenty of fungi foray events happening this autumn led by local experts. Check out out events page to join one near you.

Our top sites for fungi

A secret network

The fruiting body that we see above ground is only one small part of a fungi. Underground hides mycelium, a vegetative mass made up of hundreds or even thousands of fine threads that can spread over long distances.

In fact, a honey fungus species with a mycelium network measuring 2.4 miles across in the Blue Mountains in Oregon is thought to be the largest living organism on Earth!

Many fungi species have a symbiotic relationship with plants and trees. Fungi mycelium can capture water and nutrients that are out of reach of plants and trees, bringing them close to their roots. The roots take water and nutrients from the fungi and in return give sugars made during photosynthesis.

Downloads and guides

Download our fungi spotter guides below and make a fun, family trail from your autumn woodland walk.

Awesome Autumn Trail

Download our Awesome Autumn Trail

This trail is designed to be printed at home, and folds down to a handy pocket-size. It's packed full of games and ideas which you can take with you anywhere, whether it's at the local park, in the garden or on one of our woodland reserves.

Fungi Detective Spotter Guide

Download our Fungi Detective Spotter Guide

Mushrooms are the only part of a fungus we usually get to see. Look for them in damp areas around trees where the rest of the fungus is feeding on underground roots or rotting wood.

Autumn Wildlife Detective

Download our Autumn Wildlife Detective Guide

Autumn is the season of harvest. Fruit, nuts, fungi and rich colours are everywhere. Use this spotter to explore the wildlife of this glorious season.