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These honey-coloured mushrooms, Velvet shanks (Flammulina velutipes), can most often be found growing in the cold days of winter in groups on hardwood trees, which is where I found these beauties this morning, sprouting out of what remained of a large roadside tree that had been chopped off at a height of about four feet. Fungi expert Pat O’Reilly explains the origin of the scientific name on his First Nature website: ‘… Flammulina is a reference to the orange caps, which shine like “little flames” in the winter sunshine … [and] velutipes means “with velvet legs’’, and that’s exactly what the stems of these winter fungi look and feel like.’

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