Sunday, 10 July 2016

On Heyshott Common

Quick trip to Heyshott Common today produced this yellow Russula-type mushroom. It looked so much a part of this heathland scene I didn't want to pick it. So I just have a few photos to go on...

It had been raining heavily before we arrived and the cap was slightly slimy to the touch.

Beneath the yellow cap, the stipe and gills were a creamy-white.

There are a few different yellow Russula species which are typically yellow and white like this: Russula ochroleuca and Russula claroflava, for example. But the habitat here doesn't seem right for those species.

I'll have to admit defeat on this one and recognise I'll have to try harder if I want to identify Russulas to species.

I also passed by these rather diminutive earthballs. I picked one up to have a look at it and found it had no discernable stem it's probably Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum, but I think I'd have to look at the spores to be sure.

For the record
Date: 10 July 2016
Location: Heyshott Common
Grid ref: SU911194 (or thereabouts)


  1. Hi Clare
    The Russula is, as you suggest, most likely to be either R. ochroleuca or R. claroflava. Judging from colour alone I suspect it could be R. claroflava.

    The heathland habitat is possible for either species, although both will be mycorrhizal with nearby trees (birch in the case of R. flava). R. ochroleuca grows in a very wide range of habitats and is very variable in colour, I have seen lemony coloured ones like this that have fooled me into thinking they might be R. claroflava. R. ochroleuca grows with a very wide range of tree species both broadleaf and coniferous.

    R. claroflava most often grows on wet ground but I have found it on relatively dry heath so I would not rule either species out on habitat alone.

    When identifying Russula species getting a spore print is essential. The spores must be scraped together on white paper or on a slide then compared with a colour chart. R. claroflava has quite dark ochre-yellow spores, whereas R. ochroleuca has very pale cream to white ones.

    The Genus Russula by Geoffrey Kibby is an extremely useful book for identifying this genus. There are are number of features to look at (e.g. how much the cap cuticle peels, if it tastes hot, bitter or mild) that can enable identification of some of the species without microscopic examination.

    Many Russulas and other fungi become slimy after rain, on its own this is not a particularly useful feature; if slimy without rain that is a different matter....

    Regarding the earthballs, larger photo needed, but S. citrinum is generally the largest of the earthballs and cannot normally be described as diminutive, unless very young and unripe. If still diminutive when sporulating this would suggest one of the other species.
    All the best

    1. Thanks Vivien, this is such helpful feedback!