Saturday 17 May 2014

Baudoinia compniacensis (Whiskey Fungus)

Baudoinia compniacensis (Whiskey Fungus)

The above fungus seems to have hit the headlines around the time of World Whiskey Day.

It is a sac fungus* which seems to appear around or near distilleries.  It has a preference for airborne alcohol. The mycelium is black has a velvet like structure and is crusty.  The problem with this fungus is that it grows on homes - near or around a distillery.

Unfortunately for Scotland, in North Ayrshire, Beith, and other places in the world, this fungus is blighting houses, cars and other surfaces. This makes the exterior of buildings and roofs look as though they are covered in black soot.  The reason this fungus is so persistent is that it can withstand high temperatures.  Ethanol vapour will accelerate its growth.  It can be removed from buildings using high pressure jets and bleach. It seems the structure of buildings is not damaged once it has been removed.

* an enclosed spore bearing structure

Thursday 8 May 2014

British Allotments under threat and thus Flora and Fungi

The current Threat to British Allotments and indirectly Fungi

In this current blog posting I am deviating a little from my usual topic of talking strictly about Fungi.

At the moment there is a controversial issue taking place in the UK concerning our precious allotment plots.
To set the scene - in 1940 there were 1.4 million allotment plots in the UK.  Due to closures, and plots being sold off for re-development,  ie. housing, dwellings, etc there are now only approximately 155,000 left in the UK.  Between 2010 and 2013 the Communities UK Government Department closed down over 5,000 plots.  This is a very sorry and worrying state of affairs.  The future of UK allotments has now reached a critical juncture

The reason I decided to include this topic in my Fungi Blogs is that there are multiple reasons for preserving the plots we have left - and in fact to create more.

- Allotments plots are a haven for insects, bees, birds, the list is comprehensive, and the subject I'm passionate about being Fungi.

Allotments have piles of manure, wood-chippings, hedges, trees, grass, tree roots and the list is endless - all where fungi grow.  Fungi need protecting.  Fungi are natures recyclers and are an integral part of the eco system and have a symbiotic relationship with trees.  It becomes apparent that the more allotments that are destroyed the less fungi and all the other flora, and insects we have.  There is the potential for imbalance.

This is just one aspect.  What about the pleasure factor it gives individuals and families. What about the health benefits of relaxing in the allotment and growing nearly organic vegetables.  What about the community and social aspect of these little communities which are an oasis to get away from the fast pace of modern living.

On the 25th July 2014 an allotment closure in West Watford Hertfordshire is taking on the Communities Agency and Mr Eric Pickles.  The case hopes to be heard in the Royal Courts of Justice and if you could tweet or donate some funds to help fight this case which could well be a precedent to the remaining allotments/plots in the UK, then please

Tweet @SavefarmTerrace

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.


The Royal Courts of Justice recently delivered their judgement and ruled in favour of  Home Farm Terrace Allotments. This means, that for now, the allotments are safe from development.


Monday 5 May 2014

Rhodocollybia butyracea, Watch Wood, Nottinghamshire

Rhodocollybia butyracea (butter cap mushroom)

Watch Wood, North of Nottingham, was new territory for me.  A mixed wood, acid soil and some conifers. Very quiet, and we saw no other person.  I found Collybia. butyracea towards the end of the walk.  Its common name is Buttery Collybia and is part of the Marasmiaceae family.  This little fungus is usually found towards the end of the year in sheltered woods.  It is very variable in its characteristics and I had to ask Howard Williams (Retired Recorder) for Notts Fungi group for an opinion.  

On drying the cap can have many hues of colour, the size can be variable too.  The darker centre of the cap is seen on the photograph (see  It has white close gills which are cartilagenous.
I have a little token from that wood.  Near to the Collybia butyracea lay an abandoned old shovel on the ground!  It was big and heavy so my walking companion offered to carry it back to the car.  Useful for shovelling snow in the next severe winter me thought!

Also during December I came across a beautiful brown Oyster mushroom.  It was at its prime and the sun shine was glowing through the gills so I decided to capture it.  Pleurotus ostreatus can vary in colour from grey, deep blue to brown.  This was my first sighting of a brown one.

Photographs can now be seen at Browse 5.