Wednesday 17 December 2014

Canal-side fungi and plants

Yesterday I wrote about walking along the towpath of the Basingstoke canal. Today I want to show you photos of some of the plants and fungi I saw.

Seeing as how it's December and nearly Christmas, I think photos of Holly and Ivy are probably obligatory, so let's do those first...

Nestled in amongst the Ivy growing on an old dead tree I saw this fungus:

There are two different types of Ivy in this next photo - the traditional Hedera Helix and the Glechoma Hederacea or Ground Ivy, sometimes known as Alehoof because of its former role in flavouring ale. Thanks to my current interest in foraging, I have recently learned that it is edible as either a herb or a salad ingredient.

In fact the towpath area was rich in edible plants - though I would be hesitant about eating any of them in view of the number of dogs using the path! This is Dandelion:

This is Stinging Nettle.

This one looks a bit like Parsley, or Carrot, but I know that there are lots of similar-looking plants, many of which are poisonous (e.g. Hemlock), so I would be very cautious about eating it.

This, for instance, is Cow-Parsley, which whilst not poisonous as such would definitely not be pleasant to eat:

My main interest on this occasion was in the fungi. I know it is a bit late in the year for fungi, but the weather so far has been uncommonly mild and I found plenty of species still going strong. You know that I'm not expert at identifying them, but I can still gain pleasure from photographing them.

Here are a few...

Clitocybe Nebularis aka Clouded Agaric

Tremella Mesenterica aka"Witches Butter"

Do you see what I mean? There were loads of fungi to be seen, as long as you looked hard enough!

I'll end with what is probably my favourite photo of the batch:

I just love those delicate fluted gills. They remind me of Fan Vaulting, like that in the ceiling of a cathedral!


  1. I eat Dandelion leaves the same way as lettuce seasoned with vinegar, salt and oil. As for the nettles, I prepare them same as spinach making a kind of cream sauce. Both of them contain the most of healthy vitamins and minerals in Spring, of course.

  2. There's still loads of interest around even at this late stage of the year.

  3. You were observant. When it comes to foraging, even more than worrying about dogs I'd worry about rats especially by the canal. I don't think that the predictive text has messed this up.


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