It’s fungi time! Well, strictly speaking, it’s fungi time all year round but autumn, with its rainy days and cooler night-time temperatures, always seems to be the time when fungi are most apparent, their colourful and plentiful fruiting bodies popping up wherever you look. One of the most colourful and plentiful, which can actually appear any time from April through to the time Jack Frost starts leaving his icy crust on the ground, is Sulphur tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare).
As you might guess from its name, its cap is usually quite a bright sulphur-yellow, though it sometimes has an orange tinge and a white band around the cap edge. It grows in large tufts or clumps, sometimes numbering several hundreds of individual mushrooms. Sulphur tuft is a wood-rotting fungus that happily devours both conifers and broadleaf hardwood trees, so can usually be seen in mixed woodland areas clustered on old stumps or bursting out of the cracks in the bark of fallen trees. As well as being very common in Britain and much of Europe, it’s also a frequent sight in North American woodlands. Sulphur tuft is poisonous so a feast for the eyes but not the belly.