Thursday, 27 September 2018

Beauty in many forms …

Bearded Tooth (Hericium erinaceus)






H. erinaceus is surely one of the most striking and beautiful of all British woodland fungi. It is certainly a pleasure to see and photograph and an even greater pleasure to turn a corner in an old woodland and find your own specimen. It is a rare species of dead or damaged hardwood trees where it grows on beech and oak; its delicate pendent spines giving the mature fruiting body the appearance of a frozen waterfall. The above images were all taken this year and show a selection of the various stage forms of the developing fungus. The Bearded Tooth is of conservation concern across its European range. It is listed as one of only four non-lichenised fungi on Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and is thereby accorded the highest level of protection for a fungus in the UK. It is a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species.

Now to find a coralloides

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.
Kibby, G. (2017). Mushrooms and Toadstools of Great Britain & Europe, Volume 1, pp.44-45.
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.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 280, fig. p. 281.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Oudemansiella …

Porcelain Fungus (Oudemansiella mucida)


O. mucida is a widespread and common beech wood species. Appearing in late summer to late autumn it is typically found on rotting beech trunks and fallen branches where it grows in clusters. It is semi-translucent, slimy and white in appearance. When O. mucida is found on a beech tree it usually outcompetes other fungi nearby by means of a powerful anti-fungal agent called strobilurin. It is saprobic [deriving its nourishment from non-living or decaying organic matter] or weakly parasitic to living beech trees. While it has a strong connection to beech, it has also been found growing on oak on rare occasions.

The above group was recently photographed around three metres up a mature beech tree.

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. 200, fig. p.201.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 116, fig. a.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 138, fig. pp. 138-139.

Autumn equinox …

Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)



As the season changes from summer to autumn, the days shorten, the temperature drops and the sun rests low in the sky. It is a time of year that I particularly like as the trees start to whisper to one another in the breeze, and their leaves turn from green to many shades of gold. It is of course not only the trees that provide this multitude of colour …

L. sulphureus, with its beautiful orange or sulphur-yellow colouring, is difficult to miss. Commonly known as Chicken-of-the-Woods or the Sulphur Polypore, this common bracket fungus is most often seen on beech, oak, chestnut and less frequently on cherry and other hardwoods. Only rarely are these remarkable fungi associated with conifers. The wavy-edged young brackets are soft and spongy with broad margins, but as they age the margins become thinner and paler. Their colours vary from egg yellow to pale creamy yellow with pink and orange tinged bands. The flesh is yellow-orange when moist, drying out paler.

The above images depict a beautiful specimen recently photographed at the base of an old oak in local Sussex parkland …

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. 504, fig. p.505.
Kibby, G. (2017). Mushrooms and Toadstools of Great Britain & Europe, Volume 1, pp.66-67.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 303, fig. f.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 252, fig. p. 253.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Slugs !!!

Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)



Only the second I have ever seen and this one had also been half eaten by slugs.

One day I'll find a really nice group in pristine condition ...

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. 236, fig. p.237.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 268, fig. a.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 152, fig. p. 153.

https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/rhodotus-palmatus.php

Friday, 14 September 2018

Not a bee in sight…

Beeswax Bracket (Ganoderma pfeifferi)


G. pfeifferi is a widespread but uncommon find in England and very rare in Scotland and Wales. The above group was recently found and photographed in a cavity within a decaying beech in West Sussex woodland. My thanks to Martin Allison, county recorder for basidiomycetes, for confirming identification.

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. 484, fig. p.485.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 268, fig. p. 269.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Life in death …

Ceratiomyxa porioides



The above macro images show the plasmodium, transitional stage and sporangia of the plasmodial slime mould C. porioides living on the heavily decayed remains of a dead beech tree. Despite their small size slime moulds must surely be one of the most fascinating organisms to grace the natural world. Next time you pass the decaying remains of a tree, it need only be a small branch, stop and take a closer look - you’ll need a hand lens for many species - and see if you are not enchanted by their diversity and beauty.

Please note: Some authors regard C. porioides as a var. of C. fruticulosa.

References:

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.78-79.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 334-335.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Winter retreat ...

Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi)


Post mating, the female Wasp Spider A. bruennichi weaves in the region of five flask-shaped egg cocoons, typically containing several hundred eggs, in the higher parts of the vegetation. The eggs overwinter in their cocoons, hatching the following spring.

References:

Roberts, M.J. (1995). Spiders of Britain & Northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Multizonata ...

Zoned Rosette (Podoscypha multizonata)




P. multizonata is a widespread but generally uncommon fungus in Southern England and one which is infrequently recorded. It is associated with ancient woodland, a habitat that has sadly declined in much of Britain and throughout Europe, where it is parasitic on the living roots of broad-leaved trees, especially oaks (Quercus) and, less frequently, Beech (Fagus sylvatica). It is believed that nearly 50% of the European population of P. multizonata occurs in the UK. It is a UK BAP priority species.

The above images depict two specimens recently discovered at the base of an old oak in local Sussex woodland …

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. 550, fig. p.551.
Phillips, R. (2006). Mushrooms. London: Pan Macmillan, p. 303, fig. d.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 288, fig. p. 289.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Simocybe ...

Simocybe sumptuosa




Little brown jobs are often far more than that when viewed through a macro lens. The above specimens of the delicate S. sumptuosa were recently found and photographed on a rotten oak log at Wiggonholt Common, West Sussex. My thanks to Martin Allison, county recorder for basidiomycetes, for confirming their identification.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Common maybe ...

Tawny Grisette (Amanita fulva)



But I do like a nice Amanita fulva emerging from its 'egg' ...

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. 242, fig. p. 243.
Sterry, P. and Hughes. B. (2009). Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. London: HarperCollins, p. 94, fig. p. 95.