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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






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.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Geoglossum cookeianum - Black Earth Tongue

Geoglossum cookeianum - Black Earth Tongue

This time last year I took a break on the East Coast of England, Norfolk.
I downed tools from writing the Field Guide to the Mushrooms of Britain and Europe and spent 5 days wandering around the deserted beaches and woodland in East Anglia.  
Therapeutic it was too.  Decent weather and light and I managed to find a few new mushrooms to photograph.  One of them being Black Earth Tongue.

This grows mostly in coastal regions amongst sandy soil and in short grass.  I nearly missed it.  Despite being black it is not easy to spot and could easily be mistaken for dried seaweed.

Description: up to 7 cm tall and 2 cm wide.  Dull black, elongated tongue-shaped and smooth with a blunt and curved tip. The stem is very short. The more dry the weather the more brittle the texture.  It was growing in small groups in short grass in sandy soil.  To be found usually May - November.  It is uncommon.

It rather fascinated me.  An all black fungus with a nice shape and my first find in a decade of searching.  Not a disappointment.  This was found at a location called Snettisham Scalp.


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Peziza echinospora - Charcoal Cup

Peziza echinospora - Charcoal Cup

I recently went walking around the remains of an old coal open-cast mining site which is now a series of paths and trails and has a nice mix of trees including silver birch and grazing ground for cattle.   It was quite fascinating pottering about such a sparse landscape and little mounds of black coal deposits.  I also came across several old bonfire sites.  I'm always poking about in these sites because I want to find Bonfire Inkcap.  Not that day though, but I did come across Charcoal Cup.  

This is 3-8 cm across and when young is cup-shaped.  With maturity it spreads out a little with the margin becoming incurved.  The inner surface is shiny, smooth and dark reddish brown.  The outer surface is more pale brown and has a granular/scurfy texture.  This fungus is attached flat to the ground, having no stem.  It grows  in small groups that can be spread out on burnt wood and ground during the Autumn and Spring.



Young Charcoal Cup



Mature example


Showing scurfy outer surface


Wednesday, 16 November 2016