Fungal delights

Mushrooms are one of the most intriguing of wild foods found in the countryside, and there's more to them than meets the eye.Dozens of enthusiastic hunters joined author, TV presenter and fungus expert Michael Jordan on a foray into Thetford Forest to learn more.

Mushrooms are one of the most intriguing of wild foods found in the countryside, and there's more to them than meets the eye.

Dozens of enthusiastic hunters joined author, TV presenter and fungus expert Michael Jordan on a foray into Thetford Forest to learn more.

"In just three hours we collected something like 50 different species. There were specimens coming from all directions," said Mr Jordan.

"You always wonder if you'll find anything at all, especially after it has been so dry, but the mushrooms are there – it's just a case of spotting them."

The weekend of fungus activities was held to pass Mr Jordan's passion for mushrooms, toadstools and puffballs on to a wider audience and to dispel a few myths about the humble fungus.

"Many people see mushrooms as something to be kicked. We see hundreds of them smashed and trampled by people's boots so we are aiming to change that," he said.

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"The other myth is that they are some sort of malevolent poisonous plant. But of the 6,500 species in the UK, only very few are poisonous to humans.

"I want to try to show how fascinating they can be and how ephemeral they are. They can come up and disappear within 24 hours and there is such an extraordinary range of varieties that it becomes quite compelling when you start to study them."

Mr Jordan led two walks into the forest at High Lodge and Santon Downham, and led workshops to give the enthusiastic amateurs some of the skills and experience they will need to identify basic species of mushrooms.

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