Friday, 16 October 2020

Sparassis crispa - Cauliflower Fungus- Sandringham Estate Park, Norfolk

 Sparassis crispa - Cauliflower Fungus- Sandringham Estate Park, Norfolk

Just returned from a superb mini break to Norfolk.  Perfect time of year (commencement of fungi season) to pay a visit to the magical Sandringham Estate Park, Norfolk.  Would definitely return.  A great peaceful vibe and variety of trees.  A very impressive park with two walks.  Sun low in the sky and the wonderful smell of leaf mould and fungal spores - so was hopeful of finding some mushrooms.

Cauliflower fungus is, as the common name suggests, resembling a cauliflower.  Even the florets and stem on close inspection look like so.  The texture is elastic and the mass is tight.

Characteristics: large cauliflower mass.  Creamy initially but darkening with age. At the base or near conifers. Up to 60 cm diam. Comprising a large number of flattened wavy lobes all joined together from a central stem which is short.  Texture firm and elastic. Mild sweet smell. Summer to Autumn. Not common.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Xylaria polymorpha - Dead Man's Fingers

 Xylaria polymorpha - Dead Man's Fingers

In this 'new normal' world of social distancing due to Covid-19, I was in a friends garden as you do these days chatting, and found a super example of Dead Man's Fingers.  Certainly at its prime.  Black with fine wrinkles and looking like a collection of Fingers at the base of a tree stump.

Characteristics:  a fruit body that protrudes from the stumps of trees.  The fingers being blunt and up to 8 cm tall and 3 cm wide.  The colour can vary from light brown when immature to black at maturity. Texture is hard and tough with fine wrinkles sometimes visible. To be found on stumps of beech trees or nearby.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Taking a break

Taking a break


I am taking a rest, a sort of sabbatical! possibly all Summer, from all things fungi as I contracted Covid-19, and am taking time out to recover.    I hope you enjoy the posts to-date.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Trametes versicolor - Turkey Tail

Trametes versicolor - Turkey Tail

Many of the posts I publish are about the more unusual or uncommon fungi I find on my travels. This current fungi season has been very poor due to the unusually wet and windy conditions. One fungi I have repeatedly come across this year has been Turkey Tail.  It's a very common fungi and this season - it is everywhere!  The examples I have seen have been spectacular. Typical of its name - fanning out just like a Turkey Tail.

Below are some lovely examples.  These show the different and variable colours concentrically zoned.


Up to 5 cm across and 0.3 cm thick. Usually to be seen in large groups which form overlapping tiered groups.  The colour can be variable but zoned black-green, grey-blue, grey brown, or ochraceous-rust. Whitish margin, tough texture and smoothing with age. To be found on deciduous wood all year.  Very common.

Showing the turkey tail shape and the ochre concentrically zoned structure

Showing the variation of colours compared to the previous photograph
Showing blue-grey colours

Different colour variations compared to the above photographs

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Hyphodontia sambuci

Hyphodontia sambuci

A short post about the less obvious fungi that can be seen on tree bark, tree trunks, branches, and logs, all of which can be either dead or alive, or in the process of dying.

Of course there are the obvious brackets which can grow to huge sizes, and have a tendency to grow in tiers, as well as individually.  But sometimes overlooked are the flat, crusty fungi, that can grow on smooth branches or be found in tree trunk crevices. These can vary in colour from white, buff, brown to black, ochre, or even pallid purple.

Hyphodontia sambuci is one such fungus.  It is white, and resembles white matt paint slapped on a tree trunk.  The texture is slightly chalky and has an irregular margin.  It has no particular odour, and favours elder but can also grow on other wood or broad-leaf trees.  Mostly to be seen during late Summer to Autumn but can also be seen throughout the year.  It is common.

Showing perspective

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Hair Ice

Hair Ice 

My closing post of 2019.  What is Hair Ice?  A fascinating process whereby a fungus called Exidiopsis effusa* grows on dead wood and if the conditions are ripe - which is humid air on winter nights whereby the temperature is below 0 degrees C.  The action of the fungus enables ice to form thin hairs.  The thin hairs melt when the temperature rises. The Ice Hair can form without the presence of Exidiopsis effusa but there would be the absence of the hair like structure and instead the texture would look more crusty.

This Hair Ice process was brought to my attention by a lady who sent me a lovely photograph of it which she came across when out walking.  Please see the photograph below and huge thanks to J King for undertaking some research and sending me her photograph so that we can all wonder at this lovely natural process.

Showing close-up of the hair like structure

Showing perspective and how it looks very hair-like on the ground too


*Exidiopsis effusa is a species of fungus in the family Auriculariaceae, and the type species of the genus Exidiopsis. It is associated with the formation of hair ice on dead wood.  Source Wikipedia.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Pleurotus ostreatus with black cap

Pleurotus ostreatus with black cap

Last Friday I received an email from a lady in Southern England.  She was curious about a mushroom growing on a log.  I studied the photos but the fungus was immature and so all the characteristics were not visible.  I requested if possible an update with photos a few days later.

The following photographs were duly sent with very grateful thanks.  

It became clear then, that the mushroom was an Oyster Mushroom.  Normally Pleurotus ostreatus caps can be variable in colour from light grey/dark grey/light brown/dark brown.  But these caps are almost black. There is a Pleurotus ostreatus with a blue/grey cap called var. columbinus.

It is uncertain without analysis if this is a true Blue Oyster mushroom var. columbinus, or just Pleurotus ostreatus with a black cap, but the photos are very good indeed and show the amazing structure of this beautiful mushroom and also the variations in the cap colour of this species.

Below are some photographs showing its growth progress over several days.
With very grateful thanks to J. Warren.

Showing immature

Showing decurrent gills forming

Showing decurrent gills at maturity