Fly agaric again

This is fly agaric, a mycorrhizal fungus, Amanita muscaria, which is found in the reserve every year despite our lack of its preferred partners: birch and pine trees. In classic pictures of this red and white fungus, those that don’t have an elf sitting on top are usually growing picturesquely in the moss under a birch tree.

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Why do the leaves change colour?

There are three kinds of pigment in a usually green leaf: carotenes which are yellow, red and pink anthocyanins, and chlorophyll, which is the green that masks the other colours until autumn.

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It had been assumed that a warming climate would lead to a longer growing season for our deciduous trees, followed by a later autumnal leaf-fall. However, research has indicated that this might not be so.

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The Blackthorn Tunnel and the footpath at the top of the hill, both carpeted with leaves.

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