Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Mushrooms Attenborough Nature Centre, Nottinghamshire, UK

Mushrooms Attenborough Nature Centre, Nottinghamshire, UK

Last week I had the fabulous opportunity of taking part in a mushroom walk at Attenborough Nature Centre, Nottinghamshire whilst being filmed by Notts TV.  This was a very steep learning curve for me but a very memorable experience.  The TV journalist Owen Shipton and his assistant Stephanie were wonderful.

If you wish to see the little film the link is below:

This was superb timing as last week on the 9th October 2016 it was National Fungus Day.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Geastrum striatum

Geastrum striatum- Striate Earthstar

This  Earthstar is not easy to spot as it is tiny and blends into the soil; is well hidden in hedgerows near tree stumps.  I first came across it last year and took the photograph below.

It is very tiny being only approximately 6 cm in diameter at maturity from tip to tip of the rays.
The bulb is dull grey with a beak-like apex.  The rays are coarse, scaly and brownish-grey.  There may be between six and nine.  It is mostly solitary but can also be seen in small groups.  It can be found in soil amongst leaf litter near broadleaf or conifer trees and in hedgerows. Rather rare.

I returned to the same site again this week and found it again.  This time I had a nice surprise.
I lifted up the mature specimen as it was getting past its best and underneath this tiny structure was an even smaller structure, being symbolically shielded - a tiny immature example.
Photograph below.  This young one is so immature that the beak-like structure has not fully developed and the rays have not yet started to fully split.

Also is a photograph of the beak-like structure in a mature example.

And finally a photograph of the underside showing the collar like structure.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Lycogala terrestre

Lycogala terrestre  

Another post about slime moulds (Myxomycetes).

The Lycogala terrestre is a slime mould that I've encountered only twice in the past decade even though it is classed as 'frequent'. It grows on dead and rotten wood in general.  It is small, has a spongy texture, and has a sheen.  When young it is either bright pink or orange but at maturity it pales and turns more pallid brown or even grey.
It is more easily missed then, as it blends into the structure of the bark.

Dimensions: 0.5-1.5 cm diameter. At maturity the outer surface breaks down like puff balls and emits powder like spores  from an apical pore or a crack might split open. It can be seen mostly all year round. The spores can be pink, salmon or yellow.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Young Geastrum triplex (Collared Earthstar)

Young Geastrum triplex (Collared Earthstar)

Last February I wrote about the Collared Earthstar.  I included in the post a photograph of an example which was a little past its best but decided to show it anyway because it's an unusual looking fungus.

I am revisiting this fungus because a few weeks ago whilst out cycling in the Derbyshire Peak District along the Monsal Dale trail, I came across a group of about twenty and these were all in perfect condition.  They were growing on a steep slope (an old railway embankment) in soil and leaf litter with mixed trees. 

Below is a series of photographs showing this splendid earthstar.

The first photograph shows a group and the 'collar' at its best.

The second two photographs show something I've never seen before and may not encounter again.  This is the structure from which the earthstar emerges.  It looked like an unopened tulip bulb or a shallot with a woody type of appearance.  The photograph below shows the unopened structure.

The third and final photograph shows the structure starting to open and the young earthstar starting to emerge.

What can be seen here is the early process of the 'splitting' of the rays before they bend back. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Pisolithus arrhizus

Pisolithus arrhizus (Dyeball Fungus)

This week I received an email from a gentleman living in the USA.  Attached was a photograph of an ugly looking fungus that he'd found in his garden and which he had cut in half.  The interior looked full of seeds, a little like pumpkin seeds.  I requested he send me another photograph this time of the whole fruit body.  A whole day passed by and then I received a further message which reported that he'd managed to identify it as being probably Pisolithus and he duly sent me further photographs.

I am very grateful to receive these photographs because this fungus is very rare in Britain.  It is more frequent in central Europe.  In the USA it has been seen in California, Winconsin, Mississippi, Florida and Massachusetts.

Its characteristics are as follows:

Resembles dry horse dung, up to a diameter of 12 cm and up to 25 cm in height.  It can be a mixture of yellow, brown, grey and beige. There is either a simple stem or none at all. The texture is rough and granular.  The outer wall can rupture thus exposing pear-shaped looking seeds that contain the spores.  Habitat can be sand and gravel pits and also coal waste heaps.  It is not edible.

According to Thomas. J. Volk, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse this fungus gets its nutrition from the roots of trees such as conifers and sometimes oaks.  It can survive at low pH (high acidity) soil, with heavy metals present, and also in drought conditions.

The above image showing the whole fungus.

The above image showing the interior of the fungus.

With grateful thanks to Nathan for providing these photographs.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Field Guide to the Mushrooms of Britain and Europe. New Holland Publishers (October 2016)

Field Guide to the Mushrooms of Britain and Europe
New Holland Publishers (October 2016)

I am thrilled to be able to share the news about the above Field Guide.
New Holland Publishers approached me last year and I have been busy getting the book organised and written.  It will be available to purchase during October 2016.

Synopsis: There is a huge and growing interest in the fascinating world of fungi.  This field guide is aimed specifically towards the many beginners to the subject of mushrooms, although it is also suitable for those with a little more knowledge.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ceratiomyxa fructiculosa


Myxomycetes are more commonly known to mushroom enthusiasts as Slime Moulds.

Slime moulds are usually very tiny, with lots being invisible to the naked eye, and those that can be seen are easily missed.  They are a primitive group of fungi which usually live on dead or rotting wood and their purpose is to help with the decomposing of dead vegetation.  There are many different species perhaps into the hundreds and this is a Subject in itself.  Some fungi books include a few examples of the more visible and common types that enthusiasts might encounter.

The photograph below shows Ceratiomyxa fructiculosa.  This was found at Elvaston Castle Country Park, Derbyshire during October 2015.  A very tiny structure consisting of minute, off-white club-shaped bodies (0.5 mm to 1 cm tall) that can look almost translucent, or pale grey.  It was growing in small lines on a dead branch lying on the ground.