Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Fungal jungle ...

Ebernoe Common, West Sussex

Where your fungal fantasies come alive ...






Ebernoe Common is a superb example of a habitat which has been almost completely lost from Sussex - a wood pasture, where cattle are allowed to roam freely within the confines of the woodland feeding in the glades and under the trees. The Sussex Wildlife Trust has restored this centuries old practice to the reserve so that once again the delicate balance of trees, flowers, insects, fungi, birds and other species are thriving.

Fungi are a crucial part of the ecosystem, helping some tree species to grow, and others to decay, returning nutrients to the soil. Over 1000 species have been recorded here including many that are nationally rare. A small selection of images from this season are figured above. These include (i) Upright Coral (Ramaria stricta), (ii) Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), (iii) Hare's Ear (Otidea onotica), (iv) the notorious Deathcap (Amanita phalloides), and (v) what I believe to be Common Bonnet (Mycena galericulata).

Ebernoe Common is an internationally important site, which is designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area for Conservation (SAC) under the Habitats Directive. This means it is illegal to knowingly remove living material, which includes fungi, unless you have specific permission to do so for research purposes.

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.
O’Reilly, P. (2016). Fascinated by Fungi – exploring the majesty and mystery, facts and fantasy of the quirkiest kingdom on Earth. Llandysul: First Nature.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins.
Sussex Wildlife Trust (2012). Ebernoe Common - Nature Reserve Guide. Woods Mill, Henfield: Sussex Wildlife Trust.

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