Saturday, 14 October 2017

Psilocybin - Magic Mushrooms - Liberty Cap

Psilocybin - Magic Mushrooms

In 2012 I wrote a post about the ingredient Psilocybin in Liberty Cap (Magic Mushrooms) and how research was being carried out into its effectiveness in treating depression.  I included a link in that post to an article in The Guardian.

Today the BBC in its Health Section has an article titled 'Magic mushrooms can 'reset' depressed brain'.  Below is a link to this article.

It is great news that mushrooms or certain types of mushrooms may be able to treat some health conditions.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Hygrocybe virginea - Snowy Waxcap

Hygrocybe virginea - Snowy Waxcap

Waxcaps are lovely fungi to come across. Usually to be found in grass,  they vary in colour from scarlet, canary yellow, orange and pink to white.  The Snowy Waxcap then is a very apt name for this simple, waxy white fungus.  The small group I found at Wollaton Park, Nottingham were at their prime.  The waxy texture was lovely to touch, cool  and the structure was quite exquisite - particularly the very decurrent gill structure. There is a purity about this fungus.  

Cap showing striate markings near the margin

Showing very decurrent gills and slightly bent stem

Characteristics: cap up to 3 cm across, eventually flattening.  With age it becomes more ivory than white and it striate when damp.  The gills are very decurrent, whitish and well spaced.  The stem is also white, slightly bent and tapers towards the base.  To be found in short grass near open woodland. Very common.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Helvella crispa - White Saddle

Helvella crispa - White Saddle

White Saddle, Elfin Saddle and Felt Saddle are some of the fungi in the Helvella group.
About a decade ago I came across  Helvella lacunosa, Elfin Saddle in the Peak District, Derbyshire.  I have never seen it since.  Comprising a fascinating structure - it has a cap comprising of convoluted and distorted lobes, grey/black in colour, resting on a stem which is hollow, deeply lined and furrowed, and has small holes, looking like little stretched puncture marks.  
At that time I was staying in a log cabin with a friend and we marvelled at this lovely structure.

Showing very convoluted cap shape

Ten years later with the same friend walking around Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, I spotted Helvella crispa, White Saddle tucked under some rhododendrum bushes.  And we marvelled again!

This has a similar convoluted and distorted cap but is creamy white and the cap looks like a miniature saddle in shape.   The underside of the cap is smooth and buff  (up to 5 cm high), and the stem is also hollow and deeply furrowed. (up to 12 cm tall).  To be found on the side of paths in deciduous woods.
Late Summer to Autumn.

Showing convoluted and distorted cap
Showing deeply furrowed stem

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Bulgaria inquinans - Black Bulgar

Bulgaria inquinans - Black Bulgar

The first time I came across Black Bulgar was during a trip to Exmouth several years' ago.
I spotted it several feet away and could only view it and photograph it through a wire fence.

This year I had more luck when in Shipley Park Derbyshire and stumbled across a huge cluster on a dead log and was able to photograph and admire for some time.  The photographs below show a fine example of Black Bulgar at maturity and also the brown texture of a young.

Mature example

Young example

Characteristics: 1-4 cm in diameter, black, rubbery and shiny. The margin is slightly in-rolled when young and is dark brown and less smooth.  With maturity it becomes a smooth black disc. The under surface remains dark brown. In large groups on the dead wood of oak or beech.  Autumn.  Common.  Another common name for it is Bachelor's Buttons.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Marasmius androsaceus - Horse Hair Toadstool

Marasmius androsaceus - Horse Hair Toadstool

I recently went camping in the Derbyshire countryside near to Matlock  and when walking through a lovely wood near to the Cuckoostone Walk, I found this little clutch of Horse Hair Toadstool.  The climate being ideal for mushrooms - sunshine, showers and humidity.

Not easy to photograph owing to the small size of its cap and the hair like stem.
Amazing how that fine stem can manage to push through twigs and logs.

The characteristics are below:

Cap 0.5-1 cm. It is very wrinkled/crumpled.  Clay-pink with a darker reddish/brown centre.  The gills are also clay-pink and distant.  The stem is dark brown/black being only 1 mm in width.  It is smooth and stiff, but not brittle.  There is still some flexibility and it will bend a little.
To be found on twigs, leaves and small pieces of wood.  It is common but has to be searched for as is all too easy to overlook.

First image showing the perspective and the second image the gills

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Laetiporus sulphureus - Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus sulphureus - Chicken of the Woods

I'm always drawn to this mushroom - such cheerful vibrant colours - it is difficult to overlook.  The colours can vary from very vivid egg yellow to more toned down colours including hues of orange and pink.

The photograph shows a mature example whereby the margin edge has become wavy, thinner and more pale.   A younger example would have a thicker margin edge.  This was found on an old beech log which has been lying on the ground for many years.

Showing the wavy and crinkled margin edge with maturity

Dimensions: Up to 40 cm across and 12 cm thick with hues of pink and orange.  In tiers on dead trunks including beech, yew and other broad-leaf trees.  Pores smooth and sulphur-yellow.  Sour smelling.  Late Spring to early Summer and not common.  In a young example the margin edge is rounded and full.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Polyporus squamosus - Dryad's Saddle

Polyporus squamosus - Dryad's Saddle

Over the years I have seen Dryad's Saddle quite a few times but normally a mature fruit body.  Yesterday, despite the very dry weather recently, I encountered my very first sighting of young ones emerging so thought I'd show a couple of photographs.

Very young Dryad's Saddle emerging

Young Dryad's Saddle

Mature example

This bracket can grow up to 60 cm in diameter and 5 cm thick.  It has broad dark red to chestnut-brown scales which cover a pale ochre background.  The pores are white and oblong/angular shaped.  The stem is very short and white, browning and can be scaly near the base.  To be found on the dead trunks of broadleaf  trees such as elm and beech.  To be found in Spring and Summer.

Three weeks later I revisited the dead tree trunk and it had grown to s huge size and more or less coverd the whole of the side of the dead trunk.

A  huge example