SHROPSHIRE FUNGUS GROUP
Formed in 1992 the Shropshire Fungus Group has over 30 members and our principal aim is to find, identify and record as many species of fungus as we can.
Shropshire is an exciting county with its meadows, woodlands, hills, meres and mosses. Within these habitats flourishes an extraordinary fungus flora.
As individuals, we each find different aspects of the study of mycology of interest and motivational. As a group, our purpose is to use our resources to discover more about the fungi to be found in Shropshire. We have some knowledgeable people who can help instruct the less expert of us.
Some of us love the process of identification. There are over 15,000 different species of fungi which have been identified and recorded in the UK and there are estimated to be over a million species worldwide. Even fungi of the same species can look remarkably different. The only sure way to know what it is you have found is through close inspection under a field magnifying glass or a microscope. Identifying basic characteristics such as whether the fungus has gills or not, how the gills are attached to the stem, the shape, colour, smell and what colour the spores are, all help you get close to knowing exactly what you have. Even then it can lead to debate!
Keeping track of what is growing in our woodlands, meadows and moors helps keep check on the health of our natural environment. Fungi are a good indicator of the health of a woodland. For instance, it can indicate the presence or lack of nutrients or disease. As fungi recorders, we first identify and then record which species are present. Currently our records are kept with the County Recorder and entered into a national database. A checklist of fungi recorded in the county can be seen here.
For those who are interested in the delights nature has to offer, our forays are a great learning experience. Our goal as a group is primarily identification and recording. Our forays are often on private land and permission from the land owner is essential, especially as many specimens will need to be gathered for further microscopic investigation to confirm an identity. We are though, ever respectful of the value of our natural resources and the need to protect them at all costs. Our aim is 'Protection Through Education.'