Iping Common was looking glorious one Friday evening, a couple of weeks ago, when I joined the Sussex Wildlife Trust's wildlife guardians on a walk around the reserve.
Passing this expanse of heather on the right hand side, on the path which runs south west from
the car park, we headed into a little patch of mixed birch woodland.
Here, by the path, I spotted this Amanita poking up through the grass: tall and tan and young and lovely.
I only got a couple of snaps as the light was fading and we were on a mission to see the Nightjars.
I've been umming and ahhing about whether this could be the Blusher Amanita rubescens or Grey Spotted Amanita Amanita excelsa. Two species which the Collins Guide says are "much confused".
I'd sort of convinced myself it must be the A. rubescens because my ID guides say the more common variant of A. excelsa – A. excelsa var. spissa – has a characteristic radish-like smell. And this mushroom didn't have a radish-like smell (I had a proper sniff). It didn't really smell of anything.
But I must admit, it didn't really display any blushing either (i.e. colouring red when cut or bruised), which is the characteristic feature of A. rubescens.
I happened to bump into Vivien Hodge today, who is a very experienced mycologist, so I grabbed the opportunity for a second opinion. She suggested it looks more like A. excelsa, but as I haven't got a clear shot of the gills it's rather difficult to tell.
So I think I'm close on this one, but can't quite get to a species ID.
For the record
Date: 15 July 2016
Location: Iping Common
Grid ref: SU8421