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Monday, 2 April 2018

Geopora sumneriana - Cedar Cup

Geopora sumneriana - Cedar Cup

As the common name suggests this fungus is most likely to be found under or near Cedar trees, although it can appear sometimes near Yew trees, suggesting that formerly Cedar trees might have been nearby.  It is to be seen from late Winter to late Spring. It develops as an underground sphere and then slowly becomes visible as it pushes through the soil. 

Below is an image of a young sphere just becoming visible as it emerges in the soil.


Young sphere

This fungus can easily be overlooked as it tends to blend in with the soil.  It is also a challenge to photograph.

Cedar Cup is uncommon.  It has patchy distribution, tending to be found in the south of the UK, in fact south of the Severn to the Humber.

Below is a sequence of images showing the Cedar Cup is varying stages of development and showing its characteristics.


Showing young starting to open up




Showing the cup starting to split into eventual rays




Showing interior and hairy texture


Characteristics: Cup up to 7-8 cm across.  Firstly a sphere lying just below the soil.
It breaks through in small groups, sometimes very close together and even over-lapping.  At maturity it splits into several rays.  The exterior is light to medium brown and is covered in dark hairs.  The interior is smooth and pale buff or cream.  Not edible and is uncommon with patchy distribution mostly in the south of the UK. To be found with Cedars.

With grateful thanks to JP for allowing me to photograph this fungus in her garden and also to Howard Williams for undertaking the spore print analysis, adding the details to the CATE National Database, and sending me the three images below showing details of the spores.


Showing the splitting into rays at maturity
8-spored uniseriate asci with smooth spores



Showing coarse septate surface hairs
A very good result as this is, I believe,  a first recording for South west of Nottingham.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Clavulina Rugosa - Wrinkled Coral Fungus

Clavulina Rugosa - Wrinkled Coral Fungus

Strolling around the University Park, Nottingham University I was pleased to come across Wrinkled Coral Fungus again.  Although this fungus is common this is only my second sighting.  This time I was able to photograph it just emerging through the soil, and also found a young example.  For those out there looking for it - I must say that when in the 'just emerging stage' it is very easy to overlook.  It lies flat to the ground and looks like cauliflower florets.



Showing fungus just 'emerging' 




Showing the wrinkled texture




Mature fungus


On close inspection it is easy to see how it acquired its common name as the wrinkles are so apparent.

Characteristics:

White or cream the fruit body is 5-10 cm tall and wrinkled in appearance.  It is branched towards the tip, then blunt.  The texture is soft and flexible and its fragility can cause bits to break off.  There is no obvious stem.  To be found in small groups on soil and mossy grass in or near leaf litter next to trees.  Summer to Autumn.  Common.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Omphalina rickenii


Omphalina rickenii

Omphalina are very tiny.  The cap size varying between 0.5-2 cm across.  They are funnel-shaped, usually with decurrent or forked gills and having a central depression in the middle of the cap, thus resembling a tiny umbrella.  The cap margins have a tendency to be wavy and undulating.  Usually found in moss in varying soil types.

I have come across Omphalina rickenni twice in 12 years.  On both occasions this tiny fungus was growing true to habitat in moss.  The first time it was perched amongst moss on a boulder which formed part of a wall.  The second time was on Boxing Day this year.
My brother spotted it first whilst moving his car.  This time the Omphalina was in moss adjacent to a brick wall.  Omphalina rickenni is to be found next to walls.  It is easily over looked owing to its small size.

Below is a series of photographs taken showing the very young through to maturity.

Young showing wavy margin


Showing perspective of small size


Showing wide decurrent gills



Showing funnel-shaped cap at maturity with undulating margin


Characteristics: Cap 0.5-2 cm being greyish/brown with undulating margin, the flesh being thin. Gills decurrent, broad and forked and when inspected carefully are interveined.  Stem is concolorous with cap, slim and equal being up to 3 cm tall.
No ring.  To be found in moss in small groups either on or near walls.  Autumn to Winter.
Uncommon.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Trichoglossum hirsutum - Hairy Earthtongue

Trichoglossum hirsutum - Hairy Earthtongue

I've mentioned before in previous posts that I enjoy walking around cemeteries looking for fungi as not only are they peaceful places with a good mixture of trees, usually yews, pines and broadleaf but as the grass is not usually treated with weedkillers etc there is usually lots of sphagnum moss and this is a wonderful habitat for fungi.


On a very cold morning recently I visited one of my local cemeteries to see what might be seen. The friend accompanying me pointed out a specific grave of interest and by sheer luck nearby, adjacent to this, I noticed some very small black bumps amongst the moss.  These bumps in fact were a small group of young Hairy Earthtongue.


I have previously encountered Geoglossum cookeianum (post written November 2016), which I discovered in Norfolk and tends to grow in coastal regions.

So it was with great pleasure that I came across Trichoglossum hirsutum in the cemetery.
These were young examples some only just appearing in the moss and others only 3 cm tall. This fungus looks like a spindle with a club-shaped head.

Characteristics: black, between 3-7 cm tall.  The head which is club-shaped (0.8 cm wide) is flattened and this tapers to a stalk which is velvety in texture.  Usually in small groups in grass and sphagnum moss, which is wet. Acid soil. This is seen occasionally in later summer to autumn.  Not edible.





Showing mature example


Showing velvety stem

Showing perspective


Saturday, 28 October 2017

Armillaria gallica - Bulbous Honey Fungus

Armillaria gallica - Bulbous Honey Fungus

I recently discovered a new walk from Ambergate to Crich (Derbyshire), very pleasant during October with the trees changing colour and a steady incline to the top.  About half way up I could smell the distinct mealy odour of mushrooms but couldn't find anything.
The good news is that on the return walk I did further investigations and discovered a huge group of mushrooms covering a dead log.

Initially I thought this was Armillaria mellea (Honey Fungus).  The cap characteristics looked much like Honey Fungus but the stem was most definitely different.  Therefore having consulted with one of my contacts we think it is A. gallica.  It was grey below the stem and the base of the stem was bulbous and yellow stained.  It had fibres scattered on it. The ring was 'cotton like' in texture just like the Honey Fungus, but less distinct.


This fungus is not common in the UK. The cap size is slightly smaller and darker than Honey Fungus being about 4-10 cm across. When young it has a partial veil.  The gills are firstly pale and then concolorous with the cap and are slightly decurrent.  The stem is
dark brown to grey below the ring and is covered in fibres.  Can be seen from June to November on dead stumps in mixed woods.


Large group




Showing the grey stem with fibres and bulbous base
Showing fibrous dark stem with gills

Showing the cap with the dark scales at the centre






























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.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41608984


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.