Sunday, 21 May 2017

Off with the Fairies

Found some more mushrooms at Woods Mill today. I think these are Fairy Inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus.

Never seen these before; they look like Glistening Inkcap Coprinellus micaceus but they're much smaller.

For the record
Date: 21/05/2017
Location: Hoe Wood
Grid reference: TQ218136

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Look who's back!

It's been too long since I had some fresh fungus to ID so I took myself off to Woods Mill today with my fungus hunting paraphernalia, determined to find some fruit bodies; hoping the recent rain might have precipitated some action.

Of course I saw all the usual same-old same-old: King Alfred's Cakes Daldinia concentrica, some old Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae, Glue Crust Hymenochaete corrugata and Turkeytail Trametes versicolor. 

But nestled in amongst this old Turkeytail Trametes versicolor, I spotted something that looked a bit different.

Algae has turned the Turkeytail Trametes versicolor a beautiful mossy green colour; the pale fruit bodies are something else Bitter Oysterling Panellus stipticus.

Not super exciting, as I've seen this species before at Woods Mill. But this specimen nicely shows the cracked and 'scurfy' cap surface which is characteristic of this species.

Nearby, I spotted these mushroom-like fruit bodies growing on a well-rotted old branch.

Look! No gills.
These reminded me of the Bay Polypore Picipes (=Polyporus) badius I found last August, but the fruit bodies are much smaller, less than 4 cm across.

The margin appears quite smooth...

So I think this puts us in the realms of the Winter Polypore Polyporus brumalis; although according to the books it's not really the season for it.

Next up, a Trametes species.

This one looks a bit different to the Turkeytail Trametes versicolor that I've got used to seeing everywhere. The brackets are a bit chunkier. Pores are round. And the upper surface feels like chamois leather.

I'm thinking possibly Hairy Bracket Trametes hirsuta, but not 100 % confident.

In Hoe Wood I was very excited to see A MUSHROOM! Growing up through the leaf litter. The stem tapered slightly from a thick base; but I couldn't see any sign of a volva.

It must have just recently sprung up, after the rain, as the gills are still covered by a partial veil.

I didn't want to ruin its reproductive display so I took just a tiny sliver of the cap, to get a look at the gills. They're white, and crowded. And they don't smell of anything in particular.

So, erm, I'm not sure what this is. My first thought was Deathcap Amanita phalloides var. alba. But I can't see any sign of a "large, bag-like white volva". So I'm not convinced it is actually an Amanita. I'll try and get a spore print from my sample and may go back tomorrow for another look.

UPDATE 22/05/2017 After a misunderstanding with a kerb on Saturday evening, I limped back into Hoe Wood on Sunday to get another look at that white mushroom. It had been knocked over by some woodland creature, since I left it on Saturday. So I thought I'd take it home for a closer look. 

After a day in a margarine tub on my desk, the cap has opened to reveal a load of gorgeous chocolate-brown gills. Not white any more! So that's taught me something.

As Ted surmised in the comments below (thanks Ted!) – I can see it's definitely an Agaricus. And it's left a dark brown spore print in my margarine tub.

The key to the Agaricus runs to 12 pages in Funga Nordica. Hmm. We'll have to see how this goes...

*Checks to see if the stem base turns yellow when rubbed* Nope. 
*Checks to see if it smells of bitter almonds* I don't think so. What do bitter almonds smell like?
*Googles "Schäffer reaction"* Damn! If only I had some aniline & nitric acid lying around.
*Checks to see if cap goes yellow when bruised* Hmm... Not really. I'll go to question 11.
*Looks at 'ring'* It's definitely hanging down.
*Checks to see if flesh in stem top is 'reddening', to some degree* Um. Don't think so? I'll go to question 26.
Uh oh! I have to look at its spores. *Gets microscope out*

So, the spores look like this:

*Checks to see if the spores have a 'germ pore', or a wall which is 'uniformly thick'* I can't see any sign of a 'germ pore'. That takes me to question 27.
*Looks at cap again* Cap is definitely either 'white, whitish or dirty greyish yellowish'. On to question 29...
*Looks to see if the stem is longer than the cap* – Nope, about the same length as cap diameter. 
*Has a sniff to see if the smell is unpleasant; metallic* – Don't think so. Just smells kind of mushroom-y to me. This takes me to question 30.

Cripes! I've got to measure the spores now. I haven't done this before, but I did calibrate my new measuring eyepiece the other day, so this could work.

Based on my previous calibration, I think one unit on that scale you can see is about 10 microns. That makes the spore I'm measuring about 7 microns.
*Checks to see if the spores are, on average, < 8 μm long* – Yes! On to question 31.

This takes me to a description of... wait for it... Field Mushroom Agaricus campestris! Well, if it's that, what's it doing growing in the middle of wood? 

FURTHER UPDATE 23/05/2017 Martin Allison emailed. He's not convinced my mushroom's A. campestris. "The ring looks too big and floppy!" He said. So, there we are. The mushroom went in the bin last night, so it's identity must remain forever a mystery.

Last up, my old friend Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulphureus, growing on the same log where we found it last year.

What a beauty!

I grew quite attached to this fungus during its fruiting season last year. I watched it develop from plump, peachy pillows into bright frilly brackets. It seemed quite beautiful to me even as it slipped into senescence; until it finally fell to earth on the day of the referendum result. True story.

Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulphureus at Woods Mill, 2016. IMAGE | Clare Blencowe.

For the record
Date: 20/05/2017
Location: Hoe Wood
Grid reference: TQ217136

D. concentrica, P. stipticus, P. brumalis & L. sulphureus entered into FRDBI database 06/09/2018