Monday, 7 August 2017

After the rain

I'd been cooped up all week with a cold, so I was desperate to get out on Saturday to cop a look at some of these mushrooms that have been popping up everywhere recently. As I was still feeling a bit ill, I thought I'd better not go for a walk in the pouring rain and waited impatiently for the showers to pass. Which they eventually did.

To the woods!

It was late afternoon by the time I arrived at Horton Wood.

I'd walked perhaps 50 metres into the wood when I noticed a splash of colour to my left. Russulas!

Alas my fungus identifications skills don't yet stretch to identifying Russulas (unless they're green and crusty looking).

But this slug seemed happy it had found a tasty meal.

Much like at the nearby Hoe Wood, a crop of Fairy Inkcaps Coprinellus disseminatus were beginning to popping up on one rotting log. (Although it's just occurred to me, I should have checked more closely that these aren't Psathyrella pygmaea, as they're not growing in quite the profusion I've come to associate with Fairy Inkcap C. disseminatus).

A little further into the wood, I came across these beauties.

The cap was spectacularly, well, 'beardy'.

Around the stipe, it had a thick and elegantly constructed ring.

 The gills are free and rather distant from the stipe. And the flesh blushes slightly red when damaged.

I think these features add up to Shaggy Parasol Chlorophyllum rhacodes. A first for me.

This patch of mushrooms was growing very nearby and I assumed they were the same species.

Looking back, their growing habit clustered together like this – and the scaliness of the cap are quite different. I should have taken a closer look!

This large Agaricus also caught my eye, growing among leaflitter, in a scrubby area of the wood. The cap and stipe had the colour of tobacco stains.


The flesh didn't appear to blush red upon being cut, which I think rules out some of the woodland species. I'm drawing a blank with this one.

On my way back, I was pleased to encounter this pointy fellow.

Flicking through the Collins (photographic) Guide, it struck me as a good match for Split Fibrecap Inocybe rimosa.

Another, more mature, fruitbody growing nearby showed characteristic splitting in the cap.

However, some further research led me to this cautionary note, on the first-nature website:

"Inocybe is a difficult genus, with numerous 'little brown mushrooms (LBMs as they are commonly called) that to the naked eye appear to be identical until they are examined under a microscope... and even then it is very difficult to separate many of them."
There is an article in volume 16(3) of Field Mycology (£) which includes "A key to reddening species of Inocybe in Britain". I looked to see if my mushroom showed any signs of reddening. It didn't.

I think I shall need to get hold of a copy of Keys to British species of Inocybe (Outen & Cullington, 2015) if I want to make any progress with this one. But the microscopy required sounds fairly hardcore...

UPDATE 09/08/2017 - I have been in touch with Penny Cullington who has been most helpful and sent through details of how to access the latest edition of Keys to British species of Inocybe (Outen & Cullington, 2015). She mentioned that mushroom pictured above might be Split Fibrecap I. rimosa and "a look at the gill edge should confirm or deny that for you."

Well, I do like a challenge.

Here's another photograph of the gills, after they've been sitting on a shelf in the spare room for a few days; along with a spore print.

The gills, which look creamy-grey in the first photograph (which was taken in the field) have now turned a rather attractive shade of brown; but they've retained a striking creamy-grey edge to them.

I've tried having a look at the gill edge down the microscope; but I'm really not very good at this! All I can see is this sort of thing:

I can't see anything that looks like 'metuloid cystidia' (thick-walled cystidia usually having crystals at the apex), which would indicate something else entirely.

I note that the key describes the smell of I. rimosa  as being "spermatic". Having googled the definition of 'spermatic', I can confirm it does mean what you think it means. Is that how this mushroom smells? Pass. (I've got a cold.)

Finally, as the light was fading, I came across these sweet little boletes – about the size of a fifty pence piece.

 There was some reddening to the stipe, particularly near the top. And yellow pores.

Here's a better look at those pores (after the mushroom's been in the fridge for a couple of days).

I didn't detect any particular colour-change in the flesh, when damaged.

Unfortunately I haven't succeeded in making this mushroom definitively BE anything. Not having had much experience with boletes, working my way through the keys in British Boletes (Kibby, 2016) is still something of a challenge.

In over 18 months of regular foraying in Horton Wood, I think that's my most impressive haul of mushrooms yet. In August!

For the record
Date: 5 August 2017
Location: Horton Wood, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ208127 (site centroid)

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