Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cramp Balls

No I'm being lewd, Cramp Balls (Daldina concentrica) are one of THE best natural tinder's going, the fungus found commonly on Ash trees, are also sometimes found on Beech and i have personally found them growing on dead Cherry as well.

The fungus has a defining concentric (hence the Latin name) ring system inside and is easy to identify, when dry they will take the spark from a ferro rod or flint & steel and will burn hot and long just like charcoal allowing you plenty of time to get your fire going, they also make superb ember extenders, don't believe people who say you can cook over them, you cant, Ive tried, they just about generate enough heat to keep a mug of tea warm, luke warm at that, they do however burn without generating a great deal of smoke and the smoke they do produce is superb at keeping midges etc away from you so they make a great smudge fire in the warmer months around camp.

Just a word of warning, if you collect them, only collect the black ones as they have already released their spores, the brown ones are unripe and if you take them home, they will spore and then you have a bit of a clean up to do.

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