Thursday, 31 August 2017

A bird in the bush …

Fluted Bird's Nest (Cyathus striatus)

Or in this case a log pile …




The funnel-shaped fruitbodies of C. striatus are always a pleasure to find. However, although often clustered in large groups, they are easily overlooked because they are small and inconspicuous and because their habitat is typically dark, damp woodland.

They initially form as light-brown hairy inverted cones on decayed hardwood or woody debris. With age they become darker and a white protective membrane, the epiphragm, appears and opens, exposing a hollow interior containing a small number of silver-grey egg-like spore cases, or peridioles. Each peridium [nest] typically contains four or five flattened peridioles [eggs]. Whilst the outside of a peridium is covered with grey-brown to orange-brown hairs, the inner surface is hairless but fluted [striated] vertically - referred to in both the common name and the specific epithet. The peridia grow to around 15 to 20mm in height and 6 to 10mm in diameter with a steady taper outwards towards the rim. The individual peridioles are characteristically 1 to 2mm across.

My thanks to Nick Aplin of the Sussex Fungus Group who kindly supplied the above photomicrograph showing the basidiospores.

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. 442, fig. p. 443.
O’Reilly, P. (2016). Fascinated by Fungi – exploring the majesty and mystery, facts and fantasy of the quirkiest kingdom on earth. Llandysul: First Nature, p. 307.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 337, fig. g.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 272, fig. p. 273.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Prima ballerina …

Silky Rosegill (Volvariella bombycina)



The balletic and rather beautiful V. bombycina is an infrequent to rare find in Britain and Ireland.

It typically emerges from knot holes and other damaged areas high up on standing deciduous trees. It is not parasitic, and even when observed on living trees it is invariably attached to dead wood. The fruiting bodies, shown in the above images, have appeared within the same hollow trunk of a rotting beech tree for at least the last two years.

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. 258, fig. p. 259.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 155, fig. g.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 162, fig. p. 163.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Is this what I think it is …

It sure is ...

Tiered Tooth (Hericium cirrhatum)






H. cirrhatum is a very rare tiered tooth fungus of dead hardwood trees in old woodland. It has been reported from several sites in southern England, notably the New Forest, but nowhere is it common. The above images, of a selection of fruiting bodies found on a fallen beech, are from Sussex. This remarkable fungus and other members of the Hericiaceae are distinguished by their icicle-like spines. H. cirrhatum produces irregular cream fruitbodies with little or no real stem. The whole fruitbody is usually 5 to 10 cm across, often occurring in tiered groups covering a large area. As they develop they often overlap and form fused groups.

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. 470, fig. p. 471.
O’Reilly, P. (2016). Fascinated by Fungi – exploring the majesty and mystery, facts and fantasy of the quirkiest kingdom on earth. Llandysul: First Nature, p. 233.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 327, fig. g.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 280, fig. p. 281.