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Several species of fungi are now making their presence at Catbook wood, unfortunately most of them are poisonous or not worth collecting.Orange peel fungus3

This one is quite obvious and I have not seen it before in our wood, according to my Collins field guide it is edible, but I do not think I will bother.

This is one of the fungi known as Ascomycetes, which includes the truffles and the morels which are both sort after as a culinary delight. Also in the group is the King Alfred’s cakes, Candle snuff and Coral spot.Orange peel fungus2

Fungi are subdivided into three groups, called Phycomycetes, Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes. Basically the Phycomycetes are the more primitive and includes the moulds, like you get on old bread, especially the English supermarket style of bread. It also includes fungi like Penicillin. The Ascomycetes are more highly evolved and some produce recognisable fungi like structures, however there are over 150,000 species and many are very small and insignificant. Then we have the Basidiomycetes and these are the more highly evolved species and includes all the mushrooms and toadstools that we typically think of as fungi, also the bracket fungi.

To beef up this rather generalised description, Basidiomycetes all produce spores in groups of four and the spores are arranged on top of and outside of the cell which generated them. Ascomycetes produce spores in groups of eight and the spores are contained inside the cell which generated them. And Phycomycetes are just primitive and do all sorts of reproductive stuff but do not have spores in groups of four or eight.Orange peel fungus1