Sunday, 18 February 2018

Signs of spring …

Spring Hazelcup (Encoelia furfuracea)




Although widespread, E. furfuracea (Helotiales: Sclerotiniaceae) is generally regarded as an uncommon find in Britain. This irregularly shaped cup fungus can be found during the winter and spring. Typically clustered in small groups on the dead wood of Common Hazel Corylus avellana it has occasionally been recorded on Common Alder Alnus glutinosa.

References:

Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 308, fig. p. 309.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Little brown jobs …

Cortinarius pratensis




There are just fourteen records for Cortinarius pratensis currently listed on the FRDBI database [February, 2018]. The above specimens were located in a West Sussex sand dune system during a detailed search of the area in December 2017. My thanks to Nick Aplin of the Sussex Fungus Group for confirming their identification. It’s a fairly nondescript brown toadstool but certainly one to look out for if you enjoy little brown jobs …

References:

Edwards, A. and Leech, T. (2017). Evidence for an interesting association between Cortinarius pratensis (Section Dermocybe) and Sand Sedge, Carex arenaria. Field Mycology, 18(3), pp. 78-81.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Fungi that bite ...

Velvet Tooth (Hydnellum spongiosipes)




H. spongiosipes (Thelephorales: Bankeraceae) is an uncommon stipitate hydnoid fungus. These are a group of ‘tooth fungi’ [fungi that release their spores from tooth-like structures], which have a short stalk or 'stipe', hence the name 'stipitate'.

Stipitate hydnoid fungi are ectomycorrhizal; forming close symbiotic relationships with trees and deriving some of their nutrients from the tree's roots. This aids them in obtaining nutrients where soil quality is poor and means they are always found in association with trees. H. spongiosipes is typically associated with oak, sweet chestnut and, less frequently, beech; this provides a useful, but not necessarily accurate way of distinguishing between this species and H. ferrugineum, which occurs mainly under pine.

References:

Ainsworth, A.M., Parfitt, D., Rogers, H.J. and Boddy, L. (2010). Cryptic taxa within European species of Hydnellum and Phellodon revealed by combined molecular and morphological analysis. Fungal Ecology, 3(2), pp. 65-80.
Dickson, G. (2000). A field key to British non-resupinate hydnoid fungi. Field Mycology, 1(3), pp. 99-104.
Kibby, G. (2017). Mushrooms and Toadstools of Great Britain & Europe, Volume 1, pp.40-41.
O’Reilly, P. (2016). Fascinated by Fungi – exploring the majesty and mystery, facts and fantasy of the quirkiest kingdom on earth. Llandysul: First Nature, pp. 203-205.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, pp. 323-327.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, pp. 296-301.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Neottiella ...

Neottiella (Octospora) rutilans




Despite its rich peach-orange appearance N. rutilans (Pezizales: Pyronemataceae) is a small ascomycete fungus that can easily be overlooked where it grows, buried amongst Polytrichum mosses on heathland or in light sandy soils. The shallow cup or disc-shaped fruiting bodies, growing to around 5-15mm across, may become undulating and somewhat contorted where several fruiting bodies are condensed and crowded together. The above examples were recently photographed in a Sussex dune system.

References:

Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 367, fig. p. 366, e.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 314, fig. p. 315.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Rare or under recorded …

Guepiniopsis buccina






The tiny and rarely recorded G. buccina (Dacrymycetales: Dacrymycetaceae). Only 14 records are currently listed on the FRDBI database and 17 on the NBN Atlas [26 November 2017]. The above specimens were recently recorded and photographed at two sites in West Sussex and are new county records. My thanks to Nick Aplin for confirming identification and for the above photomicrographs which show the tuning fork shaped basidium in the left hand image and basidiospores in the right hand image.

References:

Thursday, 23 November 2017

The flea with green ears …

Flea’s Ear (Chlorencoelia versiformis)

What a great name ...



C. versiformis (Helotiales: Hemiphacidiaceae) is a rare saprotroph [an organism deriving nourishment from decaying organic matter] with a restricted range on dead wood of broadleaved species. It is critically endangered in Britain having declined by more than 50% both pre and post 1960.

References:

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Variation in concept …

Sowerbyella radiculata

Until someone calls it something else …




The British Mycological Society records 124 British records of S. radiculata (Pezizales: Pyronemataceae) on its FRDBI database [18 October 2017] with just 5 from Sussex; the most recent being in 1957 from Friston Forest, East Sussex. There are two early records, one dating back to 1876, from Stopham, West Sussex. However, S. radiculata has also been recorded from Lullington Heath, East Sussex, where it was first recorded in 2014. There is also a modern record from Ashdown Forest, East Sussex (M. Allison, 2017, pers. comms., 14 October).

Buczacki et al. (2012) state, ‘usually in small trooping-tufted groups’ and ‘on soil with conifers.’ Sterry et al. (2009) state, ‘solitary or in small groups in coniferous woodland.’ The above specimens were found amongst coastal chalk grassland in East Sussex; so quite distinct in habitat from that described. There is a lot of variation in the current concept of this uncommon species, including a few ‘varieties’, which will no doubt be described as separate species in the future. Apart from the untypical habitat in which the above examples were found, the spores are quite wide and have a nice dense reticulate ornamentation; shown above dyed with Cotton Blue.

My thanks to Nick Aplin for the above photomicrograph and his considered opinion.

References:

Buczacki, S., Shields, C. and Ovenden, D. (2012). Collins Fungi Guide: The most complete field guide to the mushrooms and toadstools of Britain & Ireland. London: HarperCollins, p. 606, fig. p. 607.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 324, fig. p. 325.