Putting the Fun into Fungi
Four specimens of Lepista saeva were found on 28th January, after several quite hard frosts. Generally, bluelegs (blue-stalks or blewits) can be found in the same quadrant of a ring near my address until mid December, so they are either very late or uncommonly early.
I say 'four' specimens, as I'm not sure whether I should count the one depicted as one, or two...
Below are some rarer finds: the first two (from the left) are of Boletus satanas, and the SBJs* in the third column are of Rhodocybe gemina. B. satanas is usually listed as seriously poisonous, but it is reputed to be edible if very well cooked, but I am informed that they smell foul in the pan.
I have been trying to identify the SBJs for several years, and it was only in 2011 that I have found anyone who could do so.** They are quite closely related to the genus Entoloma, in which there are some very poisonous species, so I do not recommend trying the SBJs, and their rarity suggests that no-one could positively say that they are safe to eat.*** Needless to say, they are very rare, and on the 'Red List' in Britain.
* small butterscotch jobs
** Mailing list hosted in Germany. Serious students may contact me for details.
*** After all, until WWII Paxillus involutus,a very common variety of mushroom was considered edible, as witnessed by pre-war books and even some post-war ones, but a glut of P. involutus during the war in Poland coincided with widespread famine, and thousands died of the cumulative effects of the poisonous constituent in them.
A similar caveat applies to Boletus satanas - it is unlikely that anyone has had the opportunity to scoff them in any quantity over a long period.