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Monday, 10 April 2017

Blackfoot Polypore - Polyporus leptocephalus

Blackfoot Polypore - Polyporus leptocephalus

Last July I visited Pitlochry (Scotland). Bad weather was forecast for the next day.
The forecasters were correct!  On the short drive into the town centre the sky turned almost black and became eerie silent.

Shortly thereafter the heavens opened and we pulled into the Co-op Supermarket car park.  A deluge of rain with terrible thunder and lightening.  I could see water gushing down the local 'burn' behind the supermarket.  Water was rushing down the streets knocking folk off their feet - I saw a woman's sandals floating down the road.

I rushed inside the supermarket to buy a sandwich only to be told the 'burn' had burst its banks and had flooded the floors - the fire engine was on its way and we had to evacuate!
I ran back to the car and sat tight.  Thirty minutes later it was all over and the sun was shining!  The only evidence being the sandbags protecting entrances.

Fungi thrive in such damp and humid conditions so I went to Pitlochry Golf Course and some nearby copses. I saw some prime Honey Fungus and a Blackfoot Polypore.

Characteristics: Cap up to 10 cm diam. Funnel - irregularly shaped. Ochre-brown and finely lined.  The cap has a depressed area at the point the stem attaches. Pores, circular, white and later turning darker brown.  Stem up to 5 cm and partly black or dark brown. On dead/dying deciduous trees.  Spring to Autumn. Common.





Showing outer surface





Showing pores and black stem





Saturday, 8 April 2017

Bonfire Inkcap - Coprinus jonesii

Bonfire Inkcap - Coprinus jonesii

Visited Scotland earlier this week.  I've made many visits over the years but never during the month of April. Very uplifting it was too - ablaze with vivid yellow daffodils and budding gorse, plus many new born lambs.

I revisited Crombie Park, near Arbroath, Angus, consisting of 200 acres of woodland and a loch.  The ground was very dry and there was an absence of fungi.  I did spot a peat bog though, and there the ground was more damp. Nearby was an old bonfire site with lots of dead, burnt wood lying around.  I nearly missed it but heavily camouflaged was a small group of Bonfire Inkcap.  This absolutely made my day!  Many years of seaching for this.

Characteristics: up to 6 cm tall, firstly conical then expanding.  At first the cap is covered in white/grey fibrillose veil remnants.  When this has  disappeared or partially so, the dark grey cap is striate from the margin edge inwards, taking on a grooved appearance.
The stem is white, woolly, but can be smooth in sections. The gills are dark, then black.
Found in burnt soil or charred wood.  Uncommon.


A perspective angle 


Showing fibrillose veil remnants and striate texture on cap and pieces of burnt wood on cap




Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Hypholoma lateritium - Brick Tuft

Hypholoma lateritium - Brick Tuft

Cemeteries are perhaps not the the most obvious place to look for fungi but I do visit such places quite regularly because I have found numerous different fungi over the years.
I think fungi like such habitat because there is usually a broad selection of tree species, compost heaps from dead flowers and plenty of green grass.

Yesterday I found a new fungus growing near the tree root of a holly and conifer tree.
This fungus was growing in a small group of four or so.  The cap being a lovely rich brick-red to reddish brown at the centre.  On close scrutiny I could see remnants of veil on the margin edge of the cap.  The gills were firstly pale yellow with an olive-brown hue, later to turn more brown.  The stem being about 5 cm tall, pale yellow near the apex and ochre-brown towards the base and it had a fine fibrous texture.

This fungus is quite common.






Showing yellow stem at the apex

Showing darkening gills later in the day

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Ramaria stricta - Upright Coral

Ramaria stricta - Upright Coral

Ramaria stricta is not a common fungus.  This week whilst out helping a friend with some local history research in my local cemetery, I came across the best examples I have ever seen.  I've seen this fungus just twice before, and have written about it in a previous post. On this day several groups were evident in the ground near to conifer trees, which is its normal habitat.  This time, from a distance, it well and truly looked like sponges of sea coral albeit in soil.  And the lovely aroma of pepper and aniseed was very evident. 

Characteristics of Ramaria stricta:  up to 10 cm tall and 8 cm wide.  It has multiple branches which are upright and ochraceous but can also look flesh coloured.  With age the fruit body becomes darker and is prone to bruising.  Its odour is pepper and aniseed and its habitat is on the ground around conifers.  Later Summer to Autumn.



Example of a group 








Showing 'up right' structure

Friday, 30 December 2016

Pleurotus pulmonarius - Pale Oyster

Pleurotus pulmonarius - Pale Oyster

I came across this during the late Summer at Elvaston Castle grounds in Derbyshire.
The grounds being full of mixed trees.

It really is beautiful. A lovely pure white like porcelain and with a very smooth texture on the outer surface of the cap.   Much smaller in size than the Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus.

The caps of the Pale Oyster are 2-10 cm in diamater, whereas the Oyster Mushroom cap can reach up to 14 cm across.  The stem of the Pale Oyster is also smaller reaching a height of just 1.5 cm and can be positioned off-centre from the cap.  It can have a woolly texture near the base.  This is also pure white with very decurrent gills. These gills are narrow and close.  It has no distinctive odour.

With age the Pale Oyster can turn more greyish brown, including the gills and the margin of the cap might start to split.

It tends to grow in small groups on broad-leaf stumps, trunks and on trees that have been felled.  This mushroom is uncommon.


A small group showing the caps


Showing decurrent gills

This group were very immature.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Inonotus hispidus - Shaggy Bracket

Inonotus hispidus - Shaggy Bracket

I recently visited Bunny Wood in Nottinghamshire.  It is a small wood that I visit just once or twice a year and where more often than not, I find something interesting.This wood is low down in a hollow and it was very cold.  Still, there were fungi to be seen.


Solitary on an Ash tree trunk I discovered my first Shaggy Bracket.  It has a hidden beauty beneath those shaggy fibrous hairs.  Although a dull tabacco brown in colour because of its maturity, just below the surface could be seen a lovely rusty/ochraceous glimmer.  The fibrous hairs felt like stiff bristles on a yard brush.  This is an annual fungus and when it is old it drops off the tree trunk and is seen as a black lump on the ground.

Characteristics: up to 12 cm across and just as thick. It is usually solitary but can sometimes be seen in small groups.   When young it is ochraceous, slowly turning to tabacco brown with maturity.  Just before it drops of the tree it turns black.  The outer surface has bristle type of hairs, but is felty in texture when immature.  The pores are circular/angular.  It is usually to be found on Ash but can also be seen on apple trees and elm. It is quite common.



Mature Shaggy Bracket




Very mature Shaggy Bracket
The example in the photograph above is at the stage where it is nearly ready to drop off the tree trunk and fall to the ground.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Inonotus dryadeus - Oak Bracket

Inonotus dryadeus - Oak Bracket

Whilst on the same winter break in East Anglia, Norfolk, last November 2015, as per my previous post,  I came across the best example of Oak Bracket I had ever witnessed. This was so large that it caught my eye about one hundred metres' away even before I had got out of the car.

This example was growing on a specific type of oak tree (Holm Oak) and was well in excess of 30 cm across.  I went over to take a look and before long a man joined me, a wild life photographer, who had travelled over 20 miles to take a look at this wonderful Oak Bracket.  He had spotted it growing some months before and had come to take another look.  It was great to stand, talk and admire this bracket with someone who appreciated that we were indeed admiring a very fine example.

A very large and superb Oak Bracket


Description:  a very large bracket that grows up to 30 cm across and even up to 15 cm thick. Pale grey when young and turning medium rust-brown with maturity.  Though some very mature examples can be black.  The outer surface is very uneven and rough in texture and sometimes particularly when still growing the margin edge can ooze rusty-red droplets.  These are not always to be seen though.  The pores are dirty grey-white and might have patches of rust colour present. Grows solitary at the base of oak trees during the autumn and winter.  This is not a common bracket.