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

Thursday 10 October 2019

Galerina marginata - Funeral Cap/Funeral Bell

Galerina marginata - Funeral Cap/Funeral Bell

As the common name indicates this mushroom is very poisonous.  It contains the same toxins as the Amanita phalloides Death Cap mushroom.  Also, it can easily be mistaken for Kuehneromyces mutabilis.

It is not rare but not so common either.  To be found on stumps and logs of broad-leaf trees.  I discovered a little group on the Clifton side of the River Trent, Nottinghamshire.  The striking feature for me is the striate and significant ring for such a delicate looking mushroom.

Characteristics: cap yellowish/tan up to 6.5 cm across.  Gelatinous, slight umbo, smooth textured. Drying more yellowish.  Gills concolorous with the cap, crowded.  Stem also concolorous with the cap but darker tan below the ring.  The stem being slender and equal and fibrous.  The ring is superior, prominent, brown, striate/fibrous.
The odour is faint, mealy.  

Showing underside and the distinctive ring

Showing the cap

It looks an innocent little mushroom, but clearly looks can be deceptive.
Thank you to Howard Williams for helping me to identify this mushroom.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Oudemansiella mucida - Porcelain Fungus

Oudemansiella mucida - Porcelain Fungus

I have to give credit to my son for finding this beautiful little fungus.  Whilst I was busy photographing a Russula he had spotted some huge brackets and then saw the Porcelain Fungus growing in profusion on a large dead beech tree.

Having always admired the delicate beauty of this fungus in books, it was just great to see it first-hand.  We spent a long time taking photos of this discovery at various stages from very young to mature.  Both of us captivated by it.  It is like pure white porcelain that has morphed into a fungus! And just begs to be photographed.


Cap up to 8 cm across, when young grey, slowly turning white. Semi-translucent, slimy.  Looks shiny. Gills distant, pure white. Stem also white, striate above the ring which is membrane like and delicate. To be found on dead beech in clusters; sometimes large. Later Summer to Autumn.  Common.

Showing top of the cap

Showing distant gills and membrane ring
Showing a cluster with young examples

Showing cap and stem

Friday 6 September 2019

Polyporus loptocephalus - Blackfoot Polypore

Polyporus loptocephalus - Blackfoot Polypore

Only my second sighting of this little Polypore.  The first being on a golf course in Angus Scotland several years ago.  This time it was on my own patch in Derbyshire, England!  It was growing in isolation on a broken twig lying on the ground amongst leaf litter.  The specimen in Scotland was as its maximum size which is 10 cm across.  This tiny little one was about 2 cm across but perfectly formed.  The black marking towards the base of the stem being a perfect example of why it gets its name.


Cap 1-10 cm across, funnel-shaped with an irregular margin edge.  Indented at the point where the stem attaches.  Oche-brown becoming tan with age.  Finely lined.  Pores white later becoming brown. Stem approx up to 5 cm, narrow with blackening at the base.

Showing cap

Showing the black marking at the base of the stem 'Blackfoot'

Close-up of cap

Monday 12 August 2019

Enteridium lycoperdon

Enteridium lycoperdon

Enteridium lycoperdon is a member of the Myxomycetes most usually referred to as Slime Moulds.  
The majority of these are very tiny but a few can be seen with the naked eye.  A very primative fungus and a subject in itself.

Wandering around my allotment earlier this year I came across Enteridium lycoperdon.  It was larger than previous ones I'd seen, and a week or so later it had burst releasing a mass of brown spores.  Having never seen the spores burst out I thought I'd share the photographs in this post.

Characteristics: medium to large sized whitish cushion.  Can feel rubbery and soft.
At maturity it breaks down to expose reddish brown spores.  Usually to be found on dead trees but usually the tree is still in the ground.  Can be seen throughout the year but mostly in the Spring.

Cushion-like fruit body

Reddish brown spores exposed

Monday 8 July 2019

Peziza cerea - Cellar Cup

Peziza cerea - Cellar Cup

I received an email from a friend who notified me that he'd found a fungus growing in his garage.  Off I went later that day to take a look. It's not every day that I go to investigate a fungus growing inside a building.

Cellar Cup is often to be found on rotting sandbags, sacking, damp mortar and soil between damp paving stones.  Fundamentally this fungus likes damp and moist conditions.  I came across Cellar Cup a long time ago - that example was growing on discarded sacking.  The example included in this post was covered in cobwebs but in prime condition.

Characteristics:  Cup 1-5 cm across, cup-shaped, yellowish - buff with a paler inner surface.  The outer surface is similar but can be darker with a scurfy texture that darkens towards the base.
This is an occasional fungus.

Below are some photographs.

Perspective showing the size 
Showing young

Monday 1 July 2019

Psathyrella ammophila - Dune Brittlestem

Psathyrella ammophila - Dune Brittlestem

Within 24 hours of arriving at Arbroath on the East coast of Scotland my friend took me to Carnoustie beach. A small sand and rock beach with some sand dunes remaining.  Some of the dunes have vanished over the years as sea defences have had to be built.

It's a real treat for me to visit the coastline and am always on the lookout for mushrooms that grow in such a habitat.  On the walk back to the car park I stumbled across a handful of Dune Brittlestem.  I find it amazing that fungus can survive in such a hostile environment surrounded by marram grass.  Anyway it made my day as they were at their prime and the photographs are below.


Cap up to 3 cm across.  Clay coloured, slowly turning darker brown with ultra fine hairs that are only visible with a magnifying glass.  Gills initially pale then dark brown and finally black.  Quite broad and close.  Stem pallid brown, smooth, virtually equal, slender and slightly rooting.  No ring.  Can be hollow.  To be found in local dunes between May and September.

Showing the pale cap in the marram grass

Showing the crowded gills

Showing the pale stem and the slight 'root'

Showing the perspective group in the dunes

Tuesday 11 June 2019

Agrocybe rivulosa - Wrinkled Field Cap Mushroom

Agrocybe rivulosa - Wrinkled Field Cap Mushroom

I found this lovely specimen at University Park, Nottingham where over the years have found many interesting and unusual mushrooms.  Behind the Boat House was a huge pile of bark chippings.  I always tend to investigate such 'piles' whether it be dung or chippings and there found a mushroom with a wrinkled cap. I'd not seen one quite like this.

On returning home I spent several hours searching for it in my various books and it did not feature.  After much searching on the internet I thought it might be Agrocybe rivulosa.  I sent some of my photographs to my friend Howard retired Recorder for Nottinghamshire Fungi Group and he confirmed it to be the case.

Thanks to M for driving me to the University Park in the rain so that I could get some more photographs.

Here is some background to this mushroom.

The first recorded sighting of this mushroom was in 2003 by a 
Dutch mycologist Marijke M. Nauta (source Wikipedia).  The first recording in the UK was in 2004.  It has since become quite common in Southern England due to the process of mulching flowerbeds which has caused its spreading. It is common in Holland, and mainland Europe. 

Also been recorded occasionally in Wales and Scotland.  Rivulosa refers to the wrinkled grooves like rivulets in the cap. Source First Nature.


The cap can reach a diameter of up to 10 cm.  The colour of the cap can vary from clay/yellow to pale orange-brown.  The gills are cream initially then turning grey.  The stem is fibrous and hollow, white turning pale ochre/grey with a large pendulous ring.  Chemical smell.  To been seen June - October on mulch and bark chippings.

Showing the wrinkled grooves in the cap.

Showing large pendulous ring.

Showing fibrous stem and base.

N.B. please note on the day the photographs were taken this mushroom was covered in small black insects.

Monday 13 May 2019

Peziza badia - Bay Cup found in a skip

Peziza badia - Bay Cup

It never ceases to amaze me where fungus can end up growing!

Who'd have thought in a skip! The story behind this is as follows:

A lady was having her garden landscaped.  Old wood and debris was placed in the skip along with clumps of soil removed for the creation of a new path.  The lady concerned left a card through my letterbox telling me she'd seen a fungus in her hired skip.  Intrigued I had to investigate so off I travelled to take a look.  To my surprise the fungus in question turned out to be a Bay Cup. Perfect in every way - the colouring and the scurfy exterior.

Below are photographs showing this excellent example.

Showing a perspective angle in the clump of soil

Showing the scurfy exterior
Characteristics: 3-8 cm across, cup-shaped firstly then developing a wavy margin edge that is irregular in shape.   Inner surface shiny, brown with olive tinge with the outer edge being scurfy.  To be found in soil, in clay soil on banks or path edges.  Later Summer to Autumn.  Frequent.

I visited the lady who found this fungus and indeed the soil was removed from a clay path and then placed in the skip!  Sometime after this soil removal the Peziza badia appeared.

Monday 4 March 2019

Panaeolus semiovatus - Egghead Mottlegill - revisited

Panaeolus semiovatus - Egghead Mottlegill

I wrote a post about the Egghead Mottlegill in 2013.  I was in Angus Scotland and it was my first sighting.  I was struck by its simple beauty - clay coloured, the egg-shaped cap and the shiny, somewhat, creased texture.  This mushroom is usually found in or near dung.  This past weekend I was out walking and came across some superb examples of this mushroom and this time in England rather than Scotland!  In this post I have included some photographs below of it growing in its various stages.

Showing young emerging - greasy texture

Showing dry texture

Showing maturity and black spores

Friday 8 February 2019

Crucibulum laeve - Common Bird's Nest

Crucibulum  laeve - Common Bird's Nest

A fungus belonging to the family of Nidulariaceae.  These usually grow on dung, wood or other plant material with a tendency to grow in large groups. Bowl-like structure usually less than 1 cm in diameter.  The bowl has at maturity tiny hard seed like peridioles. About 5 in the genera.

This fungus is difficult to find and is therefore easily overlooked. I found it by chance as I had paused during a conversation and just happened to be staring at the ground.  It was growing on chip bark in a flower bed at the University Park Campus, Nottinghamshire.

The fruit body is up to 12 mm across and 15 mm tall.  Bowl shaped.  The outer texture is felty and greyish/dull yellow.  The inner bowl is silver/grey and smooth. At maturity it contains several minute 'eggs'.  Firstly is it covered in a membrane which peels away to reveal the 'eggs'.  Mealy sweet smell.
This example found on bark chippings in a group of 30 or so.
To me they looked like minute Yorkshire puddings though some books describe them as tiny souffles!
I was thrilled to have come across it as it was my first sighting.

Showing membrane covering the eggs
Showing group on bark chippings

Showing 'nest' structure with eggs