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

Thursday, 31 October 2019



I took a stroll around my local cemetery the other day.  Beautiful sunny day and just the right damp conditions. I've mentioned before that cemeteries have really good habitat for mushrooms to flourish because they have lots of different trees and are well established.

That day I saw some perfect white mushrooms growing in pine needle litter.  Great for photographing as they were in their prime.

Showing group in pine needles

Showing fine fibres at the base of stem

Showing gills

Cap up to 1.5 cm across, firstly conical then bell-shaped and can flatten.  The margin becomes wavy with maturity.  Chalk white, with a more pale/cream centre.   The gills are white and quite crowded.  Stem is white and has white fibres at the base.  No odour. Grows in large groups amongst pine needles and other debris.  Summer to Autumn.

There are several that can grow either in conifer or pine needles. Lactea, cucullata, pithya and pseudogracilis. With the absence of analysis with this I cannot determine which precisely it is.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Hygrocybe psittacina - Parrot Waxcap

Hygrocybe psittacina - Parrot Waxcap

A simple stroll turned into something a little more special last week.  I was admiring some fungus growing in some moss on a quiet suburban street and was approached by a lovely couple who invited me to take a look in their garden at the abundance of mushrooms.
I discovered a Parrot Waxcap aptly named after the green/yellow/red colours of parrots.
It really is quite a lovely fungus and this was my first sighting.


Cap up to 3 cm across, firstly convex or bell-shaped and then more flat with a broad umbo.  Also firstly, it has a greenish hue, slowly turning more yellow with a pinkish stain on or near the centre of the umbo.  The texture of the cap is waxy/greasy/gluten-like.
The gills are broad, with a yellowish staining at the edge. The stem is yellow, greenish/blue and it smells mealy.  It grows in grass on lawns or heaths - Summer to late Autumn.  Waxcaps thrive in natural habitat and are prone to being affected by fertilizers.  Therefore they are not as common as previously.

Showing cap

Showing yellow tinged gills