Brede High Woods in East Sussex is a fine place for mushrooms, in this case what I believe to be an outburst of spectacular rustgills (Gymnopilus junonius). Someone will correct me if I’m wrong. This is a hallucinogenic mushroom that also goes by the name of “Laughing Jim”.

Several unique metabolites have been isolated from this species. Gymnopilin, for instance, appears to stimulate nerves to release intracellular stores of calcium ions, which may explain the psychoactive properties of this fungus. Researchers have also tested the gymnopilins on cancer cell lines and have found that they are pretty lethal, raising the prospect of using these natural compounds as the basis for new chemotherapeutic drugs.

Spectacular rustgill
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