Mushrooms can make a delicious food but many are poisonous with some even causing death so only ever pick mushrooms if you are 100% sure of what you are doing. If in doubt, don’t touch it.
The Fly Agaric
These attractive fungi often appear in groups and are a common sight in all kinds of woodlands.
Usually recurring in the same place for several years, Amanita muscaria is found frequently throughout the northern hemisphere, including Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, Asia, the USA and Canada.
Strange looking it may be, but you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Jelly Ear is as valuable as it is unmistakable because when it comes to edible fungi, easy identification is probably the most redeeming quality.
In the east, Jelly Ear (known as Wood Ear in China and Japan) is much prized for its medicinal benefits. Hailed as an anti-inflammatory, it is eaten to relieve tonsillitis, swelling, etc, but is also becoming regarded as a powerful anti-carcinogen, used to prevent, treat and stop tumours.
The kingdom of fungi is one of the most obvious but least understood of the many (at least six, and some scientists suggest almost twice that number) kingdoms of Life on Earth. The reasons are largely cultural: for centuries fungi were treated as the work of evil spirits, elves or witches; they we classed as 'excrescences of the earth - effectively mineral rather than animal or vegetable (the only two kingdoms of life accepted as such until recent times. Nowadays we know that fungi and neither animals nor vegetables, but they pre-date both in evolutionary terms; and when you begin taking an interest in fungi you soon discover just how fascinating they are.
Original text source (www.first-nature.com)
Fungi are important organisms that belong to their own kingdom, completely separate from plants and animals. A hugely diverse group of great economic importance, fungi remain vastly under-studied compared to plants.