Red Cage Outrage

Searching for Morels in perfect Morel habitat in southern France at the ideal time (late April), I found a total of zero. Rien. Zilch. Nothing at all in the way of fungi… except lots of very stinky¬†Red Cage fungi Clathrus ruber. One colony, covering about 10 square metres, contained at least 30 fruitbodies, from early egg stage to ripe and rancid with flies munching the spore-laden gleba so eagerly that even the presence of a camera lens a few cm away would not deter them. Well, it was a roadside picnic site…

Clathrus-ruberFrance1

The mad Morel search continues…

Reds driven north by climate change?

During August 2012 I have received news of a number of sightings of Clathrus ruber, the Red Cage or Lattice fungus, much further north in Britain than in previous years. Nearly all appearances of this strange-looking fungus in the past have been in the Chanel Islands, the Isle of Wight, southern England or (very rarely) along the south coast of Wales. It’s a Mediterranean mushroom, and far more common in the Algarve than in Aldershot!

Clathrus ruber, seen at Daventry, Northants, UK in August 2012

Has climate change enabled the spores to survive winter in northern England? A large group of Red Cage fungi sprung up recently in Daventry, Northamptonshire, and now I have received news and photographs of a fine but so far solitary specimen in a garden nead Huddersfield, in Yorkshire. At this rate these colourful, weird and very smelly members of the stinkhorn family, Phallaceae, will be over Hadrian’s Wall and fighting it out with Scotland’s armies of midges before long. Wish them luck!

Full taxonomic, distribution, habitat¬†and identification details and together with more pictures of Clathrus ruber are online here…