Friday 19 July 2013

Egghead Mottlegill, Panaeolus semiovatus, Letham, Scotland

Egghead Mottlegill, Panaeolus semiovatus

Mottlegill,  it seems originates from mottled gills due to uneven maturity of black gills, thus giving a mottled appearance.

My first ever trip to Scotland during the month of May.  I normally spend 5 days there during either August or October to take advantage of the new fungi season but this year my friends had moved to a new dwelling, and a new location, 10 miles inland from Arbroath, and so were keen to have me visit.  So I kept my expectations in realistic proportions, erring on the view that I probably wouldn't find anything much.

How wrong I was.  Within 2 hours of arriving at their new abode, and whilst out on a brief dog walk around grass footpaths around the village, I spotted something in dried up manure in someone's garden.  Thought at first it was a Coprinus but on closer inspection realised it was an Egghead Mottlegill.  Its structure and beauty captivated me; in particular its clay coloured shiny cap, and its unusual creased and wrinkled appearance.   Firstly, I saw a mature group, and then a single fresh specimen.  Can see why it is called Egghead.  The shape is like a hard-boiled egg with the bottom chopped off.  The clay and light buff-coloured cap had a light dusting of black gill spores smeared in the wrinkled structure.  Also on the stem there were sprinkles of black spores. 

Taking a photograph of the fresh single Egghead was challenging.  The sun was in the wrong position, kneeling in dung is not my favourite past time, and also the house owners Jack Russell dog was yapping at me a bit too close for comfort - still all worth it to capture this lovely fungus.

This can now be viewed on Browse 4 on

Saturday 6 July 2013

The Fungi, Exhibition at Whitby Museum, Pannett Park, Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK June-November 2013

The Fungi,
Exhibition at Whitby Museum,
North Yorkshire, UK

June- November 2013

I am happy to report that in celebration of Whitby Naturalists' Club Centenary, it is hosting an exhibition entitled The Fungi - a Celebration of Nature's Recyclers.  The theme was chosen because Fungi "form an incredibly important and key part of the natural world.  Without them we could not live on this planet".

Some other important facts extracted from the exhibition information sheet are:

- Fungi are endangered.  They are just as vulnerable as animals and plants to the threats of habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and persecution.

- The UK has no permanent exhibition about fungi.  None of Britain's great natural history museums has a gallery devoted to fungi.

- It is thought that at least 1.4 million more species may still be undiscovered and about 100,000 have been described.

- Fungi are beautiful.

I am very pleased and proud to have been asked to contribute 28 photographs to this exhibition, along side other photographers from the UK and around the world.  I visited the Whitby Museum last week to see for myself.  It is a very impressive exhibition, being educational and entertaining at the same time. I sincerely hope and believe that fungi will, with time, get the appreciation and protection that they deserve.