Saturday 30 December 2017

Omphalina rickenii

Omphalina rickenii

Omphalina are very tiny.  The cap size varying between 0.5-2 cm across.  They are funnel-shaped, usually with decurrent or forked gills and having a central depression in the middle of the cap, thus resembling a tiny umbrella.  The cap margins have a tendency to be wavy and undulating.  Usually found in moss in varying soil types.

I have come across Omphalina rickenni twice in 12 years.  On both occasions this tiny fungus was growing true to habitat in moss.  The first time it was perched amongst moss on a boulder which formed part of a wall.  The second time was on Boxing Day this year.
My brother spotted it first whilst moving his car.  This time the Omphalina was in moss adjacent to a brick wall.  Omphalina rickenni is to be found next to walls.  It is easily over looked owing to its small size.

Below is a series of photographs taken showing the very young through to maturity.

Young showing wavy margin

Showing perspective of small size

Showing wide decurrent gills

Showing funnel-shaped cap at maturity with undulating margin

Characteristics: Cap 0.5-2 cm being greyish/brown with undulating margin, the flesh being thin. Gills decurrent, broad and forked and when inspected carefully are interveined.  Stem is concolorous with cap, slim and equal being up to 3 cm tall.
No ring.  To be found in moss in small groups either on or near walls.  Autumn to Winter.

Saturday 2 December 2017

Trichoglossum hirsutum - Hairy Earthtongue

Trichoglossum hirsutum - Hairy Earthtongue

I've mentioned before in previous posts that I enjoy walking around cemeteries looking for fungi as not only are they peaceful places with a good mixture of trees, usually yews, pines and broadleaf but as the grass is not usually treated with weedkillers etc there is usually lots of sphagnum moss and this is a wonderful habitat for fungi.

On a very cold morning recently I visited one of my local cemeteries to see what might be seen. The friend accompanying me pointed out a specific grave of interest and by sheer luck nearby, adjacent to this, I noticed some very small black bumps amongst the moss.  These bumps in fact were a small group of young Hairy Earthtongue.

I have previously encountered Geoglossum cookeianum (post written November 2016), which I discovered in Norfolk and tends to grow in coastal regions.

So it was with great pleasure that I came across Trichoglossum hirsutum in the cemetery.
These were young examples some only just appearing in the moss and others only 3 cm tall. This fungus looks like a spindle with a club-shaped head.

Characteristics: black, between 3-7 cm tall.  The head which is club-shaped (0.8 cm wide) is flattened and this tapers to a stalk which is velvety in texture.  Usually in small groups in grass and sphagnum moss, which is wet. Acid soil. This is seen occasionally in later summer to autumn.  Not edible.

Showing mature example

Showing velvety stem

Showing perspective

Saturday 28 October 2017

Armillaria gallica - Bulbous Honey Fungus

Armillaria gallica - Bulbous Honey Fungus

I recently discovered a new walk from Ambergate to Crich (Derbyshire), very pleasant during October with the trees changing colour and a steady incline to the top.  About half way up I could smell the distinct mealy odour of mushrooms but couldn't find anything.
The good news is that on the return walk I did further investigations and discovered a huge group of mushrooms covering a dead log.

Initially I thought this was Armillaria mellea (Honey Fungus).  The cap characteristics looked much like Honey Fungus but the stem was most definitely different.  Therefore having consulted with one of my contacts we think it is A. gallica.  It was grey below the stem and the base of the stem was bulbous and yellow stained.  It had fibres scattered on it. The ring was 'cotton like' in texture just like the Honey Fungus, but less distinct.

This fungus is not common in the UK. The cap size is slightly smaller and darker than Honey Fungus being about 4-10 cm across. When young it has a partial veil.  The gills are firstly pale and then concolorous with the cap and are slightly decurrent.  The stem is
dark brown to grey below the ring and is covered in fibres.  Can be seen from June to November on dead stumps in mixed woods.

Large group

Showing the grey stem with fibres and bulbous base
Showing fibrous dark stem with gills

Showing the cap with the dark scales at the centre

Saturday 14 October 2017

Psilocybin - Magic Mushrooms - Liberty Cap

Psilocybin - Magic Mushrooms

In 2012 I wrote a post about the ingredient Psilocybin in Liberty Cap (Magic Mushrooms) and how research was being carried out into its effectiveness in treating depression.  I included a link in that post to an article in The Guardian.

Today the BBC in its Health Section has an article titled 'Magic mushrooms can 'reset' depressed brain'.  Below is a link to this article.

It is great news that mushrooms or certain types of mushrooms may be able to treat some health conditions.

Saturday 7 October 2017

Hygrocybe virginea - Snowy Waxcap

Hygrocybe virginea - Snowy Waxcap

Waxcaps are lovely fungi to come across. Usually to be found in grass,  they vary in colour from scarlet, canary yellow, orange and pink to white.  The Snowy Waxcap then is a very apt name for this simple, waxy white fungus.  The small group I found at Wollaton Park, Nottingham were at their prime.  The waxy texture was lovely to touch, cool  and the structure was quite exquisite - particularly the very decurrent gill structure. There is a purity about this fungus.  

Cap showing striate markings near the margin

Showing very decurrent gills and slightly bent stem

Characteristics: cap up to 3 cm across, eventually flattening.  With age it becomes more ivory than white and it striate when damp.  The gills are very decurrent, whitish and well spaced.  The stem is also white, slightly bent and tapers towards the base.  To be found in short grass near open woodland. Very common.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Helvella crispa - White Saddle

Helvella crispa - White Saddle

White Saddle, Elfin Saddle and Felt Saddle are some of the fungi in the Helvella group.
About a decade ago I came across  Helvella lacunosa, Elfin Saddle in the Peak District, Derbyshire.  I have never seen it since.  Comprising a fascinating structure - it has a cap comprising of convoluted and distorted lobes, grey/black in colour, resting on a stem which is hollow, deeply lined and furrowed, and has small holes, looking like little stretched puncture marks.  
At that time I was staying in a log cabin with a friend and we marvelled at this lovely structure.

Showing very convoluted cap shape

Ten years later with the same friend walking around Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, I spotted Helvella crispa, White Saddle tucked under some rhododendrum bushes.  And we marvelled again!

This has a similar convoluted and distorted cap but is creamy white and the cap looks like a miniature saddle in shape.   The underside of the cap is smooth and buff  (up to 5 cm high), and the stem is also hollow and deeply furrowed. (up to 12 cm tall).  To be found on the side of paths in deciduous woods.
Late Summer to Autumn.

Showing convoluted and distorted cap
Showing deeply furrowed stem

Sunday 10 September 2017

Bulgaria inquinans - Black Bulgar

Bulgaria inquinans - Black Bulgar

The first time I came across Black Bulgar was during a trip to Exmouth several years' ago.
I spotted it several feet away and could only view it and photograph it through a wire fence.

This year I had more luck when in Shipley Park Derbyshire and stumbled across a huge cluster on a dead log and was able to photograph and admire for some time.  The photographs below show a fine example of Black Bulgar at maturity and also the brown texture of a young.

Mature example

Young example

Characteristics: 1-4 cm in diameter, black, rubbery and shiny. The margin is slightly in-rolled when young and is dark brown and less smooth.  With maturity it becomes a smooth black disc. The under surface remains dark brown. In large groups on the dead wood of oak or beech.  Autumn.  Common.  Another common name for it is Bachelor's Buttons.

Thursday 10 August 2017

Marasmius androsaceus - Horse Hair Toadstool

Marasmius androsaceus - Horse Hair Toadstool

I recently went camping in the Derbyshire countryside near to Matlock  and when walking through a lovely wood near to the Cuckoostone Walk, I found this little clutch of Horse Hair Toadstool.  The climate being ideal for mushrooms - sunshine, showers and humidity.

Not easy to photograph owing to the small size of its cap and the hair like stem.
Amazing how that fine stem can manage to push through twigs and logs.

The characteristics are below:

Cap 0.5-1 cm. It is very wrinkled/crumpled.  Clay-pink with a darker reddish/brown centre.  The gills are also clay-pink and distant.  The stem is dark brown/black being only 1 mm in width.  It is smooth and stiff, but not brittle.  There is still some flexibility and it will bend a little.
To be found on twigs, leaves and small pieces of wood.  It is common but has to be searched for as is all too easy to overlook.

First image showing the perspective and the second image the gills

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Laetiporus sulphureus - Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus sulphureus - Chicken of the Woods

I'm always drawn to this mushroom - such cheerful vibrant colours - it is difficult to overlook.  The colours can vary from very vivid egg yellow to more toned down colours including hues of orange and pink.

The photograph shows a mature example whereby the margin edge has become wavy, thinner and more pale.   A younger example would have a thicker margin edge.  This was found on an old beech log which has been lying on the ground for many years.

Showing the wavy and crinkled margin edge with maturity

Dimensions: Up to 40 cm across and 12 cm thick with hues of pink and orange.  In tiers on dead trunks including beech, yew and other broad-leaf trees.  Pores smooth and sulphur-yellow.  Sour smelling.  Late Spring to early Summer and not common.  In a young example the margin edge is rounded and full.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Polyporus squamosus - Dryad's Saddle

Polyporus squamosus - Dryad's Saddle

Over the years I have seen Dryad's Saddle quite a few times but normally a mature fruit body.  Yesterday, despite the very dry weather recently, I encountered my very first sighting of young ones emerging so thought I'd show a couple of photographs.

Very young Dryad's Saddle emerging

Young Dryad's Saddle

Mature example

This bracket can grow up to 60 cm in diameter and 5 cm thick.  It has broad dark red to chestnut-brown scales which cover a pale ochre background.  The pores are white and oblong/angular shaped.  The stem is very short and white, browning and can be scaly near the base.  To be found on the dead trunks of broadleaf  trees such as elm and beech.  To be found in Spring and Summer.

Three weeks later I revisited the dead tree trunk and it had grown to s huge size and more or less coverd the whole of the side of the dead trunk.

A  huge example

Monday 10 April 2017

Polyporus leptocephalus - Blackfoot Polypore

 Polyporus leptocephalus - Blackfoot Polypore

Last July I visited Pitlochry (Scotland). Bad weather was forecast for the next day.
The forecasters were correct!  On the short drive into the town centre the sky turned almost black and became eerie silent.

Shortly thereafter the heavens opened and we pulled into the Co-op Supermarket car park.  A deluge of rain with terrible thunder and lightening.  I could see water gushing down the local 'burn' behind the supermarket.  Water was rushing down the streets knocking folk off their feet - I saw a woman's sandals floating down the road.

I rushed inside the supermarket to buy a sandwich only to be told the 'burn' had burst its banks and had flooded the floors - the fire engine was on its way and we had to evacuate!
I ran back to the car and sat tight.  Thirty minutes later it was all over and the sun was shining!  The only evidence being the sandbags protecting entrances.

Fungi thrive in such damp and humid conditions so I went to Pitlochry Golf Course and some nearby copses. I saw some prime Honey Fungus and a Blackfoot Polypore.

Characteristics: Cap up to 10 cm diam. Funnel - irregularly shaped. Ochre-brown and finely lined.  The cap has a depressed area at the point the stem attaches. Pores, circular, white and later turning darker brown.  Stem up to 5 cm and partly black or dark brown. On dead/dying deciduous trees.  Spring to Autumn. Common.

Showing outer surface

Showing pores and black stem

Saturday 8 April 2017

Coprinus jonesii - Bonfire Inkcap

Coprinus jonesii - Bonfire Incap

Visited Scotland earlier this week.  I've made many visits over the years but never during the month of April. Very uplifting it was too - ablaze with vivid yellow daffodils and budding gorse, plus many new born lambs.

I revisited Crombie Park, near Arbroath, Angus, consisting of 200 acres of woodland and a loch.  The ground was very dry and there was an absence of fungi.  I did spot a peat bog though, and there the ground was more damp. Nearby was an old bonfire site with lots of dead, burnt wood lying around.  I nearly missed it but heavily camouflaged was a small group of Bonfire Inkcap.  This absolutely made my day!  Many years of seaching for this.

Characteristics: up to 6 cm tall, firstly conical then expanding.  At first the cap is covered in white/grey fibrillose veil remnants.  When this has  disappeared or partially so, the dark grey cap is striate from the margin edge inwards, taking on a grooved appearance.
The stem is white, woolly, but can be smooth in sections. The gills are dark, then black.
Found in burnt soil or charred wood.  Uncommon.

A perspective angle 

Showing fibrillose veil remnants and striate texture on cap and pieces of burnt wood on cap

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Hypholoma lateritium - Brick Tuft

Hypholoma lateritium - Brick Tuft

Cemeteries are perhaps not the the most obvious place to look for fungi but I do visit such places quite regularly because I have found numerous different fungi over the years.
I think fungi like such habitat because there is usually a broad selection of tree species, compost heaps from dead flowers and plenty of green grass.

Yesterday I found a new fungus growing near the tree root of a holly and conifer tree.
This fungus was growing in a small group of four or so.  The cap being a lovely rich brick-red to reddish brown at the centre.  On close scrutiny I could see remnants of veil on the margin edge of the cap.  The gills were firstly pale yellow with an olive-brown hue, later to turn more brown.  The stem being about 5 cm tall, pale yellow near the apex and ochre-brown towards the base and it had a fine fibrous texture.

This fungus is quite common.

Showing yellow stem at the apex

Showing darkening gills later in the day

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