Don warns: Beware of eating fungus!

Honey Fungus:

  1. A dangerous parasite of young cone-bearing trees.
  2. The fungus is sometimes known as bootlace fungus.  The root is spread by distinct black strands, or rhizomorphs, which look like long black bootlaces.  The black rhizomorphs can spread under the ground for up to 30 feet to attack other trees.
  3. The black rhizomorphs force their way up beneath the bark and eventually bring about a soft, flaky, white rot in the wood.
  4. Wood injected by the spores is luminous and used by country folk to mark paths.

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We have included Don’s notes exactly as he wrote them as reminders for when he was giving slideshows to various bodies. We know that he expanded on these, but we wish to remain true to the original documentation.



  1. Pale yellow flesh, has a firm texture and a faint but distinct smell of apricots.
  2. This fungus is valued in the kitchen because it keeps and cooks well.


  1. Grows in spring on rich soil.
  2. Edible but should be blanched in boiling water before being prepared for the table.

Jews Ear Fungi:

  1. Kills elder trees.

Birch bracket:

  1. Whitish brown cap, white pores.
  2. Used for sharpening razors in olden days.

Death Cap:

  1. Most deadly of all and nine-tenths of deaths attributed to eating fungus are to death cap fungus.  One piece the size of a finger nail can result in death.
  2. Sometimes found growing with mushrooms, especially in pastures near woods.
  3. It’s cap is whitish, yellowish, or yellowish-green with white gills sometimes tinged with green.
  4. Emperor Claudius died from poisoning through this fungi.


  1. Toadstool ... smells of decaying meat.
  2. Stalk is white, hollow and spongy, and the cap is covered with green slime.
  3. Called a ‘witches egg’ when coming through the ground.
  4. Takes only 3½ hours from breaking through the ground to full size.

King Alfred Cakes/Cramp Balls:

  1. Mainly attacks ash.
  2. The name cramp balls refers to an old belief that it could be used as a charm against cramp and ague.
  3. When ash has been attacked by this, it sets up a condition known as ‘calico wood’.

Shaggy Inkcap:

  1. Ink used for writing with - used today to avoid counterfeit signatures on important documents.
  2. Lifted a paving slab 30” x 24”, 1½ inches above rest of surrounding slabs in 48 hours!

Common Puffball:

  1. Put a ripe puffball under a slowly dripping tap - each drip causes a puff or spore smoke.
  2. The spore gets about by rainfall. or animals, or human contact.

Fly Agaric:

  1. Always grows near pine or birch trees.
  2. If you dig out the rootlets of these trees they are coated with fungus spawn.
  3. Used to poison fly-paper.
  4. Can cause death, but will cause vomiting, diarrhoea and excitement and hallucination resembling drunkenness.
  5. It is reported that Viking raiders consumed the fly agaric to make them fighting-mad or berserk when on raids.

Common Field Mushroom:

  1. A field mushroom 3” across has about 400 gills and about 16,000,000,000 spores.
  2. The spores fall out at a rate of 40,000,000 per hour.

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