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mushroom foraging guide Collecting Wild Mushrooms

When to look for mushrooms

Autumn is usually thought of as mushroom season and this is certainly the most productive time. However, you should remember that each individual species of fungus has its own season. Autumn is just when more of these seasons overlap. There are species which appear only in the spring (Morel, St. George’s Mushroom) or prefer the summer (Chicken of the Woods, Chanterelle). There are even species which are winter specialists (Velvet Shank, Oyster Mushroom).

During the autumn it is usually enough to visit a suitable location and see what you find. During the quieter times of year it is probably better to choose areas favoured by specific seasonal mushrooms. In the winter visit woodland with lots of old stumps and fallen logs that would suit Velvet Shank and Oyster Mushrooms. In the spring visit chalky pasture land that St.George’s mushrooms would like or look under hedge rows and in mulched flower beds for Morels.

Whilst there is a usual season for each species of mushroom, when they actually appear will vary depending on the weather conditions. A cool wet summer can mean that autumn species may appear a full month before they’re supposed to. Conversely, a dry start to the autumn can delay the appearance of many species until the usual autumn rains eventually arrive.