Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 02/11/2012

In The Bleak Mid-Winter

Asiatic Lion, originally uploaded by

The rain kept off today, off what I’m not too sure, but it was off all the same, more importantly (if you’re a self obsessed mushroom that thinks the world revolves around them, and expects to have their photo taken all the time), I should have been out in the surrounding woodland with my camera on the hunt for fungi.. but I wasn’t. Despite having all my camera gear at the ready, it was I who wasn’t prepared but over the next couple of days, come rain or shine I hope to be out photographing any remaining toadstools in the vicinity. My starting point, bizarrely, will be the local cricket pitch where one week ago I happened upon the strangest sight. If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia and decided to scan through my Flickr stream as a possible cure you may have happened upon a most peculiar looking mycological specimen, the bright orange Jelly Antler Fungus. As the name suggests, the mushroom resembles the horns of a deer, rather than the more traditional toadstool look from fairy stories. I’ve photographed Jelly Antlers in the adjacent woodland, where they nestle in amongst the roots of old and rotting tree stumps so imagine my surprise as I was strolling across the cricket pitch, I happened to glance down in envy at the impeccable grass to spot some bright orange starting to poke through which I quickly realised was Jelly Antlers starting to show through. In fact the more I looked, the more I realised this wasn’t confined to the area in front of me but was reaching far across the ground. Like a high proportion of mushrooms in the wild, I suspect they won’t have reached their full maturity, as someone will have pretended they were taking the winning shot at some cup final or other and disjointed pieces of these orange horns will be scattered across the grassy plain.

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