Saturday, 11 June 2016

Eye of the Taiga

Fungus observations from LAPLAND

Muddus national park, Sweden. Credit:

Continuing on our adventures in Muddus national park, Sweden, and heading west from Nammavárre to the waterfall at Muddusagahtjaldak the path traverses a long dry ridge. We stopped here to rest our legs. 

As I sat, pondering whether I actually like the Daim & salt liquorice chocolate I'd bought by mistake (Answer: "Surprisingly, yes."), my eyes fell upon a most inconspicuous fungus sitting right beside me.

It had the look of a bracket or crust fungus, with a thin and slightly wavy margin, leathery texture and concentric patterning in shades of beige and brown. But the round cap was growing up through the leaf litter on a stem, like a mushroom.


A glance at the underside confirmed its identity as some kind of polypore. (The photograph doesn't show it terrifically well, but you can just about make out the pores which cover the underside:)

I had to wait until I got home to find a likely identity for this little curiosity. It matches well with descriptions of Tiger's Eye Coltricia perennis which the Collins Complete (photographic) Guide describes as an "unusual mushroom-shaped polypore comprising a thin-fleshed cap and short stem". And the Collins (illustrated) Fungi Guide says it's found "especially in sandy acidic habitats and with pine". Sounds about right! Although there are other Coltricia species which occur in Scandinavia, which aren't in my British field guides...

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