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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wed 25th Nov 2009 - Mornington Woods.

Mornington Woods was our venue this week, a site we have visited a few times in the past. A really good turnout, despite the fact that as we arrived on site, we were bombarded with a shower of hailstones! The plan for this site is to clear some of the larger trees, particularly sycamore, and a start has been made on this already. This will allow in more light to the woodland floor, which it is hoped will lead to greater colonisation of wild flowers and more wildlife.

Jobs for the Green Gym were a litter pick, which did not fill as many bags as on our last visit, so keeping the site tidy is obviously encouraging people not to dump rubbish. There was also a lot of lopping bushes and shrubs, together with clearance of a large patch of bramble at the lower edge of the wood near the steps.

Carrie’s Nature Lesson

This week’s find was a spectacular example of a young parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota Procera). This is a species of agaroicus fungus, a member of the Agaricaceae family, and reproduces through windborne spores. It is found solitary or in groups and fairy rings in pastures and occasionally in woodland. It typically fruits initially in August, but is most commonly seen in October and can continue fruiting through into November. This very large mushroom resembles a woman’s parasol (hence the name), and the cap size may reach up to 40cm. Young specimens tend to be egg-shaped that expand initially to bell-like and then a flat cap, that is characterised by a dark umbro at the top. This central dome is surrounded by concentric rings of pale brown scales on a cream cap, with fine white gills.

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