Sunday, 27 May 2018

Rosy Bonnets

The Rosy Bonnet Mycena rosea took me by surprise in Horton Wood yesterday, popping up through the remains of the bluebells.

This pair looked rather cute. You can see the 'uniform pink tones' and slightly club-shaped ('clavate') stem base, which I believe is indicative of M. rosea.

Here you can see the pale pink gills with a distinctive 'sinuate' gill attachment.

The strong radishy smell of M rosea was coming through loud and clear.

For the record
Date: 26 May 2018
Location: Horton Wood, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ208127 (site centroid)

Record entered into FRDBI 07/09/2018

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Commemorative porcelain

I decided to go and explore the woods around Henley, West Sussex, yesterday and take advantage of the royally nice weather.

Heading west from Bexleyhill, the wide sunny rides of Verdley Wood were abuzz with insects. But the predominantly coniferous woodland didn't present much mycological interest. On Henley Common the path emerges into an area of semi-natural ancient woodland, and it was here that I came across a large windblown Beech tree.

A solitary Porcelain Mushroom Oudemansiella mucida was growing on one of its huge boughs: a fitting piece of commemorative porcelain, as the Duke & Duchess of Sussex had just made it official over in Windsor Castle.

The trunk was adorned with some very grand and fresh-looking brackets one of the Ganoderma species (G. applanatum or G. australe).

You can see their cocoa-coloured spores lightly dusting the trunk below.

As I walked on through the mixed woodland of Northpark Copse, I spotted a few dried-out old Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus and some ancient Turkeytail Trametes versicolour covering the odd log stack. That was pretty hard to get excited about.

Heading back through the southern part of Northpark Copse I found some more big old Beech trees, including several fallen trunks. One of these was well covered in bracket fungi.

Their uppersides were zoned in shades of cream and brown, stained green with algae.

The undersides displayed distinctly elongate pores.

This confetti-strewn pair reminded me of Meghan and Harry: the happy couple.

I think these must be Lumpy Bracket Trametes gibbosa, because of the elongate pores. Although they don't look very lumpy.

Further on I passed through some old Sweet Chestnut coppice and spotted this by the side of path.


We've evidently been having some great weather for Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulphureus.

For the record
Date: 19/05/2018
Location: Henley Common, West Sussex
Grid ref: SU890260 (O. mucida & Ganoderma sp.), SU8825 (T. gibbosa & L. sulphureus)

Records entered into FRDBI 07/09/2018

Sunday, 13 May 2018

A trudge around Friston Forest

I found myself at the Seven Sisters Country Park yesterday, with a few hours to kill – waiting for Michael to get off work. So I decided to take myself off for a walk around Friston Forest. In the rain. 

I headed from West Dean towards the old waterworks at Friston, and was pretty underwhelmed when the first hour and half produced some Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae and some tiny stubby-looking Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon.

L: Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae, far away. R: Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon, up close. It was raining too hard to get good photos.
Walking along the lush verdant rides with their rabbit-cropped grassy edges, I started to wonder if I should turn my attention to botany instead.

But then, as I turned into an area of mature Beech woodland walking back in the direction of West Dean – I spotted something more interesting.

A pale fruit body standing proud from the leaflitter. Evidently pretty old, as algal growth had begun to give it a hint of green.

Underneath: an ochre / cinnamon-coloured pore surface. And a long back stipe connected the fruit body to the old twig it had been growing on.

I think what I have here is an old Blackfoot Polypore Polyporus leptocephalus. A species I've possibly come across before, but never been 100 % sure.

After trudging on for another hour through the rain, I was very excited to spot some mushrooms clustered on a rotting stump.

Getting closer, I realised they'd seen better days. But I was hopeful they were still in good enough condition to confirm an identification.

The ring around the stem would surely be a clue to their identity...

The gills were the colour of dirty dishwater – a grey-brown colour. And, later, produced a brown spore-print.

These mushrooms seem a good match for Poplar Fieldcap Cyclocybe cylindracea (previously Agrocybe cylindracea). Kind of a new one for me, although we did find an atypical-looking specimen which we identified as C. cylindracea on the Sussex Fungus Group foray at Seaford Head last year

You've got to work hard for your mycological thrills at this time of year.

For the record
Date: 12/5/2018
Location: Friston Forest
Grid reference: TV5399

Records submitted to FRDBI 07/09/2018

A spring foray at Burton & Chingford Ponds

Looking out onto Burton Pond from Sussex Wildlife Trust's nature reserve.

I took myself off to Burton & Chingford Ponds last Saturday, to see what I could see and make the most of the gorgeous weather.

I spotted these on the left as I set off through the Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve.

I think they must be Dryad's Saddle Polyporus squamosus – you can just about make out the net-like pore surface, where the slugs and snails have eaten away at the flesh.

Further on, I spotted a scattering of mushrooms on the grass verge, not far from where I found the Deathcaps Amanita phalloides last summer.

These mushrooms looked familiar from my recent forays around my village.

White, crowded, sinuate gills. A flour-y smell.

I decided these must be more St George's Mushrooms Calocybe gambosa.

As the path skirted round the back of Burton Pond, I spotted some more mushrooms tucked away on a mossy stump.

With a slightly green-ish tint to the yellow gills, and a faint ring-zone – made dark by a covering of fallen spores – I'm saying this is Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare.

Some old, hollowed-out Birch Polypores Piptoporus betulinus adorned the birch logs lying by the path.

And on a big old tree trunk, I came across a patch of Oak Curtain Crust Hymenochaete rubignosa.

That was about it as far as fungi goes. It will be interesting to hear what the West Weald Fungus Recording Group picks up on its foray there today.

For the record
Date: 5/5/2018
Location: Burton & Chingford Ponds
Grid reference: P. squamosus SU977179; C. gambosa SU972176; H. fasciculare SU979177; H. rubignosa SU980174

Records entered into FRDBI 07/09/2018

Spring fungus finds around the village

Remember that period of incessant rain as we headed towards spring? The jelly fungi were loving it.

A trip to Hoe Wood on 15 March produced a good haul of Tremella and Exidia species.

Clockwise from top left: Leafy Brain Tremella folicea, Witches' Butter Exidia glandulosa, Yellow Brain Tremella mesenterica and what-I-think-is-probably White Brain Exidia thuretiana.

And it felt like wherever I found Elders, I found Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae soaking up the atmosphere.

Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae

On a trip to nearby Horton Wood on 8 April I found baby 'ears' popping up all over the place...

Young Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae
... With Wild Primrose Primula vulgaris carpeting the woodland floor, it felt like spring was finally getting going.

Over on the other side of the village, the Wood anemones Anemone nemorosa put on an equally impressive show in the public part of Hoe Wood, at Woods Mill.

Hoe Wood, 18 April 2018

I had a rootle around for Anemone Cup Dumontinia tuberosa but didn't managed to find any.

Three weeks went by before I managed a return trip to Horton Wood, and by this time yellow had given way to blue as the Bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta took centre stage.

I had a close encounter with a Hornet Vespa crabro. But Horton Wood didn't seem to have anything new to offer in the way of fungus interest.

Wandering back towards the village, some splodges of white beneath a roadside hazel hedge caught my eye.

I collected one of the fruit bodies, so I could get a closer look at its features. I thought I could detect a vaguely flour-y smell (but have limited confidence in my olfactory skills).

With its white, sinuate gills, I reckon this is a pretty good bet for St George's Mushroom Calocybe gambosa. It's a spring species – and a new one for me!

Over on the other side of the village, our old faithful Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulphureus was putting an another cracking show. It's at least the third year in a row that it's fruited on this log pile. (Here is is in 2016 and 2017.)

It wasn't until I got home that I spotted some distinctly mushroom-y looking things at the bottom left of the frame and it's been annoying me that I never found out what they were. Anyone care to hazard a guess? Glistening Inkcaps Coprinellus micaceus are very common at Woods Mill, so I thought they might be that. But the caps look a little too round, and insufficiently glistening.

Over in Hoe Wood I found more Witches' Butter Exidia glandulosa among the bluebells.

And I got thoroughly confused by this bracket fungus which looked to be putting on a growth-spurt on the railway sleeper bridge at the edge of valley field.

It looks quite distinctive with its cinnamon colouring and large pores, but it has completely defied my attempts at identification.

The frustrating thing is, I think it got determined to species on the Sussex Fungus Group foray last year – but I haven't been able to tie up my notes well enough to figure out what we decided it was.

For the record
Location: Hoe Wood, Small Dole [private site]

Date: 15 March 2018

Location: Horton Wood, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ208127 (site centroid)
Date: 8 April 2018

Location [Calocybe gambosa]: New Hall Lane, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ214132
Date: 29 April 2018

Location [Laetiporus sulphureus]: Woods Mill, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ217137
Date: 29 April 2018

Location [Unidentified bracket]: Woods Mill, Small Dole
Grid reference: TQ219133
Date: 29 April 2018

Records entered into FRDBI 07/09/2018