I joined a walk from Hallaton on Tuesday. It was a good walking day ,sunny and not too hot. After several rainy days and sunny days the fungi were popping up everywhere.
I picked these beautiful Horse Mushrooms of which I had eaten in days gone by and was convinced I knew them. Other walkers steered clear as identifying non-poisonous fungi is difficult. They were growing in an open grassy field, so that was the right place. I thought I would check and ascertain if they were Horse or Field mushrooms and anything else relevant. The internet tells me that Field mushrooms are smaller than Horse mushrooms. So, Horse mushrooms they are—–or are they? Luckily I noticed that there was an almost identical mushroom called a Yellow Stainer, which is poisonous but not fatal —at worst a day in the bathroom. My vision of a feast of mushroom suddenly vanished. How can you tell the difference?
The most positive way is to scrape the stalk with your finger nail, as shown in my picture of two stalks, and within a few seconds the chrome yellow appears.
So, my beautiful mushrooms were Yellow Stainers . There are a few other subtle differences which an expert could detect and they smell unpleasant when cooked but this is quick and easy for the rest of us.
Here endeth the first lesson.