Scarlet Elf Cup Sarcoscypha austriaca

Scarlet Elf Cup Sarcoscypha austriaca

This distinctive fungi looks like something straight out of Lord of the Rings (or your other chosen fantasy film). You have probably seen this small fungus adding some colour to the otherwise often dull winter palette as it pushes it’s way through moss and leaf litter in order to blow it’s spores across the woodland. Don’t be put off by the red colour warning, as it is in fact considered edible. Continue reading

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Marsh Samphire Salicornia europaea

Marsh Samphire Salicornia europaea

Marsh Samphire (Salicornia europaea) has little to do with the similarly-named Rock Samphire other than their location and a vaguely similar taste. Marsh Samphire, AKA Glasswort, is found in estuary mud and the intertidal edges of creeks and some muddy harbours. Continue reading

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Opposite-Leaved Golden Saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

Opposite-Leaved Golden Saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium

This short, green and slightly hairy plant is almost always found in shaded wet soils within a few metres of a body of water – even if that body of water is more of a swamp than a babbling brook. It can be found across the UK and all year round, although it is most noticeable from early Spring until August-September.
There are minute and easily-missed golden-yellow flowers that almost appear to blend into the succulent leaves from March until April.
It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus

Within the UK you will find Bilberry bushes growing amongst heather and gorse plants on upland acidic soils. I’ve found them on pretty much every UK mountain I have climbed or visited, even if the species was only represented by a few straggly bushes clinging on between some rocks, away from the relentless grazing of sheep or deer.

It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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Cep Boletus edulis

Cep Boletus edulis

Cep (Boletus edulis) is one of the most reassuring edible mushroom that you will find in the UK. It has a distinctive appearance, few things to confuse it with and very tasty. It’s a highly-prized mushroom in the kitchen and can be found across the Northern Hemisphere.

It is sometimes known as the Judas Tree, from the tale that Judas Iscariot hung himself from the bough of an Elder. There are also many (often paradoxical) folk tales surrounding the use and planting of the tree – from seeing the devil himself after burning the wood to planting Elder near a home to ward him off. Continue reading

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