On the fallen bough of this oak tree, I caught a climpse of an old crust fungus, so I thought I'd take a closer look.
It seemed like some considerable time has passed since since the break, as much of the upper section had lost its bark. Swathes of orangey-brown crust fungus covered one of the limbs, in tiered rows with ruffled edges – looking well past their best: one of the Crusts, a Stereum or Hymenochaete species, but I wasn't sure how to determine which it is, especially with it being so old.
On one of the higher limbs, where the bark had fallen away, I spotted a fresh streak of crust fungus and thought this might give me a better chance at an identification.
The hairy upper surface and smooth, orange-coloured underside makes me think this is Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum.
Several of the limbs, where the bark was still attached, were covered in a smattering of these.
Looking in the Collins Complete (photographic) Guide, it seems likely these are Brown Cup Rutstroemia firma. They're attached to the substrate by a shortish stem (yup – checked that) and grow gregariously on dead branches of deciduous trees, especially oaks and Hazel.
I liked them.
Having now totted up three species on this old oak bough, on this still-frosty January day, I thought I'd see how many more I could get.
There was this knobbly Phellinus type thing, which I'm not even going to attempt to identify...
... which may or may not be the same species as this.
Also quite a lot of this:
It was interesting to see the difference in growing habit between the upper and lower surface of the bough: they definitely know which way is up.
I'm going to take a punt on that one being Split Porecrust Schizopora paradoxa.
Moving from white to black, I'm pretty sure the black, jelly-like flaps attached to this oak twig are Witches' Butter Exidia glandulosa.
And this black mat was very striking – growing over a mossy substrate.
Looking at it under the stereomicroscope, there's very little 'structure' to it. It's just a mass of jet-black threads.
Pretty happy with that little haul.
For the record
Location: Horton Wood, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ2078612801 [grid reference is for the fallen oak bough]
Entered into FRDBI: 12/02/2017