Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Something in the night

Well I'm walking 'round Woods Mill, figuring I'll see some bats... Last Saturday night. And I found these lovely mushrooms, popping up on an old fire site.

I figured they were something from that confusing Coprinellus / Coprinopsis / Parasola area of fungal taxonomy. I wouldn't normally attempt to identify such cryptic things but they looked so alluring in the moonlight, I thought I'd give them a go.

Back home I was able to get a closer look at the fruit bodies under the light and got some photos before bed.

That tan nubbin on top, the pleated cap and pale edge to the gills seemed like distinctive features; along with the fact it was growing on an old fire site. I set the cap down on a glass slide to get a spore print over night.

The morning after the night before

Next morning, I found my mushroom had become shadow of its former self. It wasn't deliquescing as such. But it had begun to lose all its structure.

I found a smearing of charcoal coloured spores on the slide, and got them under the microscope.

I measured around 10 spores and made the spore length 12.5 - 13.5 microns, with the average being around 13.0 microns long. Width 5.5 - 6.2 microns, average 5.8 microns.

That seems pretty big for these Coprinellus -type things. Over on the British Mycological Society Facebook page, Richard Shotbolt had suggested perhaps my collection could be Coprinellus impatiens or something very close. But then my measurements seemed a bit on the big side for C. impatiens. (I still have some anxiety about whether I'm actually doing this right but I have checked the calibration on my eyepiece camera at least three times, so I should be doing it right.)

I spent a while poring over descriptions in Funga Nordica, but I'm going to have to admit defeat on this one. I think I'd need to look for microscopic features on the cap ('pileocystidia') to confidently narrow things down but didn't fancy my chances at finding them, as the fruit body was collapsing before my eyes. 

Anyone got any more tips on pinning down an ID for this one? I've still got a little dried out fruit body so could have another go at examining microfeatures, if I knew what I was looking for. 

For the record
Date: 9 June 2018
Location: Woods Mill, Henfield
Grid reference: TQ217136

1 comment:

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