It had been four weeks since my previous visit when I'd recorded 13 species of fungi growing on this huge hunk of dead wood. A pretty good haul, I thought. So I wasn't expecting to find much more this time.
But as I squelched my way along the woodland rides towards to the Big Beech, I realised that conditions had changed quite a bit since my last visit. The wood was wetter. Much wetter.
These conditions had brought out some jelly fungus – fruiting on the sunny southern side of the main trunk, now denuded of its bark.
See how it glistens in the low winter sun. What a beauty!
Given the tightly-lobed, brain-like form of this black-brown jelly, I reckon it's Exidia plana (related to Witches Butter E. glandulosa).
On one of the cut boughs, lying in a sheltered spot under the main trunk, I saw a smattering of tiny yellow fruit bodies.
I'd meant to check if this was Common Jellyspot Dacrymyces stillatus but it's been a busy month and my specimens dried out before I had a chance to do the microscopy.
On the same log, towards the back of the photo above, I spotted a different kind of jelly fungus.
I wonder if this is a tiny patch of Leafy Brain Tremella foliacea? I don't think it's a species I've come across before.
So that's three new species for the Big Beech list.
Turning my attention to the northern side of the trunk, I was keen to solve the mystery of the button-shaped mushrooms I'd found popping up the month before.
They were looking a bit the worse for wear, after four weeks of winter weather, but still surprisingly in tact. Underneath the caps, where they hadn't been eaten by molluscs, these mushrooms had pores
– fairly large pores.
I reckon that makes these Winter Polypore Polyporus brumalis.
I wasn't expecting to get any more species from the Big Beech that day, so when Michael pointed out this crust fungus growing on one of the cut boughs I rather casually dismissed it as "probably Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum". Boring.
It wasn't until I sat down next to it with my flask of tea that I realised it was something quite different. Not boring!
Unless I am very much mistaken, this was Crimped Gill Plicatura crispa, making itself at home.
The books say this species has a northern distribution, but we've come across it a few times of Sussex Fungus Group forays, so I think it must be establishing itself down south.
I think that brings my complete Big Beech list to around 21 species, albeit a few are not confirmed.
- Splitgill Schizophyllum commune (14/2/2016)
- Beech Woodwart Hypoxylon fragiforme (14/2/2016)
- Possible Cosmospora arxii (14/2/2016) - not confirmed
- Porcelain Fungus Oudemansiella mucida (9/10/2016)
- Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus (11/12/2016)
- Beech Jellydisc Ascocoryne sarcoides (11/12/2016) - not confirmed
- Bitter Oysterling Panellus stipticus (14/01/2018)
- Small Stagshorn Calocera cornea (14/01/2018)
- Jackrogersella cohaerens (14/01/2018)
- Turkeytail Trametes versicolor (14/01/2018)
- Birch Mazegill Lenzites betulinus (14/01/2018)
- Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum (14/01/2018)
- Clitopilus hobsonii (14/01/2018)
- Wrinkled Crust Phlebia radiata (14/01/2018)
- Smoky Bracket Bjerkandera adusta (14/01/2018)
- Ganoderma sp. (14/01/2018)
- Winter Polypore Polyporus brumalis (11/02/2018)
- Exidia plana (11/02/2018)
- Possible Common Jellyspot Dacrymyces stillatus - not confirmed (11/02/2018)
- Possible Leafy Brain Tremella foliacea - not confirmed (11/02/2018)
- Crimped Gill Plicatura crispa (11/02/2018)
For the record
Location: The Big Beech, Rowland Wood, East Sussex
Grid reference: TQ514150