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Country diary: chicken-of-the-woods is tasty - and not just to us

Backstone Bank Wood, Weardale, Country Durham: Gastronomes relish this dinner-plate-sized fungus, but so too do insect larvaeWoodland fungi are a furtive bunch, living mostly unseen under the soil or inside other organisms, digesting whatever their creeping threads can find: nature's recyclers. Their appearances are often fleeting, limited to a dusting of rust spores on the underside of a yellowing leaf or overnight eruptions of toadstools in autumn. But bracket fungi are a class apart: big, durable and sometimes a little sinister, and none more so than chicken of the woods, Laetiporus sulphureus.On a humid, windless, overcast evening, in fading light, an air of lassitude had settled over this ancient woodland. No birdsong and few flowers now that the spring flora had withered away under a tangle of brambles, grasses and ferns. But we could see the sulphur-yellow bracket fungi, at head height on a decrepit, dying oak, from a hundred yards away, arranged like closely spaced shelves on either side of the trunk. As dusk closed in around us, they seemed to glow. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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