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.

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