This fungus, also known as the coal fungus, has been used as a survival resource by our ancestors for thousands of years. Daldinia Concentrica is commonly found on decaying ash trees here in Britain. During the early stages of its growth, it is light brown in colour and incredible hard. But after a season or two, it begins to change to a dark black colour. This is the point at which you can harvest it for use with fire lighting. The concentric lines within the fruit body can catch a spark from a flint and steel or ferro rod, and this coal will smoulder for many hours. It can then be transferred to a tinder bundle to get your fire going. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors carried this smouldering fungus with them as they moved from camp to camp. This meant that they could get a fire going relatively easily where ever they decided to set up their camp. It’s a fantastic bushcraft resource and one you should keep in mind when you are out in the wilderness.
The cramp ball fungus can be picked and dried out during winter (best not to do this during sporing season, which is spring to august) and you can take it with you as part of your fire lighting kit.
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