Delicious and Deadly Honey Fungus
Delicious and Deadly Honey Fungus Body: You'll probably have heard of honey fungus, that innocuous-sounding killer in the garden that can rapidly destroy your beautiful trees, but what exactly is it?
There are several species of fungus Armillaria, commonly known as honey fungus, that can rapidly kill trees and shrubs by attacking the roots of perennial and woody plants, with few species being immune. The fungus spreads underground by growing spreading root-like structures called rhizomorphs. These can grow up to a metre a year and eventually evolve into giant underground organisms that thrive on decaying and dead plant material.
Honey fungus appears above ground as a white fungal growth between the wood and bark of trees and shrubs, usually near ground level, with large clumps of honey-coloured toadstools often appearing in late summer or autumn.
Honey fungus is one of the most destructive problems for gardeners since no chemical has been developed to control it, so the only way to prevent its spread is to completely remove infected plants, burning them to halt the spread to other plants.
Symptoms of honey fungus infection include the sudden death of trees and other woody plants, as well as dieback and decaying roots, so act fast if you see these signs of destruction in your garden.
Despite the devastation caused by these fungi, they are frequently eaten as a superior type of wild mushroom, particularly in Europe. But don't try to eat them raw as they contain toxins which can be removed by thorough cooking. One variety found in England shouldn't be consumed within 24 hours of drinking alcohol as this in itself can cause sickness. And only eat these mushrooms if you have an expert to identify them since honey fungus sometimes grows alongside deadly poisonous fungi!
So it's a delicious killer - treat honey fungus with respect!