Thursday, 20 July 2017

Scratlee wood

I was up on the Downs on Saturday, near East Dean (West Sussex), exploring a triangle of woodland wedged between Wood Lea and Scratlee wood, just south of Charlton Forest.

Fallen boughs and a windblown Beech tree held the promise of fungi; and I wasn't disappointed.

Although the woods were very dry up there on the Downs, this Ganoderma species was still looking fresh. I really must learn how to identify these to species. I think it's a spore size thing (unless there are galls from the Yellow Flat-footed Platypezid Fly Agathomyia wankowiczii present, which I always look for but never find).

This rotting bough was hosting a few fruit bodies of Wolf's Milk Lycogala sp.

I haven't sorted out how to identify these to species either, after getting thoroughly confused about the difference between L. terrestre and L. epidendrum last year (here).

This windblown Beech had delivered an impressive crop of oyster mushrooms Pleurotus sp.

... Unfortunately all very dried out.

They were growing in two distinct patches. This patch had turned tan and leathery; and every fruit body appeared to sprout from a separate stem. The edges of each fruit body rolled neatly inwards.

Whereas this small cluster were paler and all sprouting from a common base...

... and the edges appeared more uneven.

This leads me to speculate there may be two separate species here. But which?

Despite poring over the field guides, I can't seem to get my head around whether the Pleurotus are separable / identifiable in the field. I gather that the Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus can be very variable and differences compared to other species are rather subtle... So if anyone would care to offer any advice, it would be most welcome!

Finally I spotted this little trio, growing up from a soil substrate in the centre of the path.

I assume the difference in cap colour is a sign of an 'hygrophanous' character. The gills were a dark chocolate brown colour. I also noted the stem was very brittle which I thought might indicate a brittlestem Psathyrella species. But the key to the Psathyrella in Funga Nordica is rather fierce and I don't think I'm feeling brave enough to attempt it today.

For the record
Date: 15 July 2017
Location: Woods on North Down, near East Dean (West Sussex)
Grid reference: SU8914

1 comment:

  1. The only Oyster mushroom I have ever found on Beech is P.ostreatus and it does vary a lot, especially during the drying out process, when it ends up with a completely different colour and shape. The inimitable Mushroom expert Michael Kuo has a fine series of descriptions of the 'complex around ostreatus' here Safely distinguishing ostreatus from pulmonarius cannot be done in the field and in the laboratory relies on mating experiments. In future no doubt it will be done by DNA. See you at the DNA workshop?