Friday, 7 October 2016

Pulborough Pitstop

Text message I got from my husband last weekend, just before I headed home from the Sussex Fungus Group meeting near Northchapel:
"TQ 0393 1900. It's up that lane and on the base of a tree on your right. X"
He was, of course, talking about a big red fungus he'd spotted while tramping through the Sussex countryside on the #WildestWalk.

A quick consultation with GrabAGridRef put this somewhere west of Pulborough – perfect for a pitstop on my way home. I went to track it down.

I think these are the fungi I was looking for.

It seems to me there are two different species here. Some kind of Ganoderma; and something else.

This fungus is unlike the Ganoderma species I've seen before as it has a distinctive shiny coating, like it's been varnished.

There are a few shiny Ganoderma species:
  • Laquered Bracket Ganoderma lucidum which is described as "uneven" with a "thick, irregular margin". Hmm... Nope.
  • Beeswax Bracket Ganoderma pfeifferi which is described as similar to Southern Bracket but with a yellowish waxy coating on the upper surface. Hmm... Not really.
  • Ganoderma resinaceum which has "a shiny upper surface and an inflammable resinous coating". Hmm... Maybe.
Why didn't I get the matches out? Why? WHY ???

I'm thinking the smaller brackets are another species entirely.

I kind of want to say these could be Beefsteak Fungus Fistulina hepatica. They were quite squidgy. But that species is supposed to have a "rudimentary" stem. The stem looks a bit better than "rudimentary" to me, but then who am I to judge.

ID tips gratefully received!

For the record
Date: 02/10/2016
Location: West of Pulborough
Gridref: TQ 0393 1900
Entered into FRDBI: 13/02/2017


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    2. I deleted my comment as I now see that the squidgy ones are early Fistula hepatica as Nic points out. Glad he agrees about G.resinaceum.

    3. Roger that. Happy to have seen G. resinaceum!

  2. This just in from Nick Aplin, via the Sussex Fungus Group forum:

    The one on the right of your first photo and the centre of your third photo is clearly a Ganoderma. The most common species on Oak in Sussex IME is G.resinaceum which the shiny sterile surface (and lack of stem) seems to confirm. (This species tends to be shiniest in the Summer, when it first appears, by this time of year it looks a bit more lacklustre).

    All the other fruitbodies are Fistulina hepatica. They are, after all "quite squidgy". If you expand the last image, you can see something that separates this species from all other Polypores: The pores are actually not real pores. They're made up of individually separated tubes dangling down from the cap like bunches of macaroni. Next time look at them with a hand lens, it's quite amazing.
    Phylogenetically speaking Fistulina is quite distant from the other Polypores, and one bracket is commonly treated as thousands of minute fruitbodies seated on a common stroma (the cap).