Friday, 31 August 2018

Woods Mill Bioblitz Reconnaissance

The Sussex Wildlife Trust is running a Bioblitz at Woods Mill this weekend, as part of its Woods Mill 50 celebrations. So I thought I'd better chip in with a spot of fungus identification.

This afternoon was a bit of a reconnaissance mission, ahead of the main event tomorrow. I thought I'd just have a quick look and see what's about. And oh my goodness, there's SO MUCH fungus out there! This is what I found...

[Posted this evening to give folk a chance to tell me if I've got any wrong.]

UPDATE 01/09/2018 - remembered a couple I missed out, and got a couple of corrections overnight.

1. Silverleaf Fungus Chondrostereum purpureum

2. Possible Hydropisphaera (= Nectria) peziza. I'm referring to the tiny orange blobs here needs confirmation under the microscope.

UPDATE 3/9/2018:
Nick Aplin has advised that H. peziza has 1-septate striate ascospores with two big droplets. A bit like this then:

400x magnification + digital zoom, mounted in water.
I had to switch up to 1000x oil immersion magnification to see the striation, but I caught a glimpse of it eventually:
1000x magnification + digital zoom, stained with Cotton Blue & mounted in water.
I make the ascospores around 10 microns long. 

I think that confirms the orange specks as H. peziza.

3. Fairy Inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus

I cheated a bit with this one as the fruit bodies are too small to ID, but this log frequently hosts a mass of Fairy Inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus, and I reckon it's getting ready to put on a good show tomorrow.

UPDATE 3/9/2018: 

I was a couple of days out with my prediction, but the Fairy Inkcaps C. disseminatus are indeed back:

4. Livid Pinkgill Entoloma sinuatum

New species for me. Am in the process of getting a spore print which will hopefully allow me to confirm this as E. sinuatum. Gorgeous looking mushroom! And very poisonous apparently.

Have managed to get a look at the spores and they have a very distinctive pointy 'germ pore', which I think confirms E. sinuatum...? Although I can only see one previous West Sussex record on the FRDBI database.

Richard Shotbolt has advised me that E. sinuatum "should have a mealy smell with a nasty undertone", so I went back and had a sniff. I think I caught the mealy smell, and definitely picked up the nasty (positively evil) undertones.

5. Cinnamon Bracket Hapalopilus nidulans (?)

If I've got this one right the flesh should turn purple on exposure to KOH. Voilá!

6. Holly Speckle Trochila ilicina
7. Phacidium multivalve (?)

I should probably take a look at these under the microscope.

8. Blackedge Bonnet Mycena pelianthina (???)

9. Rusty Bolete Xerocomus ferrugineus (?)

Geoffrey Kibby has advised, over on the British Mycological Society Facebook page, that with the white flesh this is more likely to be X. ferrugineus (not X. subtomentosus, which has pale lemon flesh).

10. Oak Curtain Crust Hymenchaete rubignosa

11. Black Bulgar Bulgaria inquinans

12 Russet Toughshank Gymnopus dryophilus Gymnopus sp. (?)

I may have been a bit over-confident ID'ing this one as Gymnopus dryophilus. That species is supposed to have knobbly bits on the edge of the gills, which I can't seen any sign of...

Might have to try a bit harder with this one. 

13. Spindleshank Gymnopus fusipes

14. Blackening Brittlegill Russula nigricans

FeSO reaction: deep green.
15. Nut Disco Hymenoscyphus fructigenus Unidentified ascomycete on hazelnut

As Nick Aplin says, "'Nut Disco' - It's too easy to use this name for any asco that grows on nuts..."

I'd better do some more work on this one if it's going to make the Bioblitz species list.

16. Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus

17. Peeling Oysterling Crepidotus mollis

18. Green Elfcup Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Spores are around 8 microns long, which I think confirms this as C. aeruginascens.

19. Beefsteak Fungus Fistulina hepatica

20. Alder Tongue Taphrini alni

[Rubbish photo. Here's what it looked like back on 9 July 2018...]

21. Blushing Bracket Daedaleopsis confragosa

22. Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae 

For the record
Date: 31 August 2018
Location: Hoe Wood [public section], Woods Mill

Records entered into FRDBI 07/09/2018

Monday, 27 August 2018

A mixed bag

Sussex Fungus Group was back in action yesterday for the first foray of the season, in an area of mixed woodland near Northchapel, West Sussex.

The fungus we found fruiting in most profusion has to be this white ascomycete growing on fallen Ash petioles, assumed to be Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, aka Ash Dieback. Nick Aplin has recorded H. fraxineus before on this site, so it is known to be present. But the record will still need to be confirmed by examination of its microscopic features.

I thought I'd have a go at determining this myself, using descriptions in Baral and Bemmann (2014). They explain that one of the key features of H. fraxineus which distinguishes it from other similar species is the presence of 'croziers' (hook-type things on the hyphae, similar to 'clamps'). But I've given up. Too difficult!

Some Hymenoscyphus bits. Asci n' stuff?
Best leave these tricky little ascos to Nick.

I won't list everything we found, but there were some interesting things about which are worth a mention.

Nick Aplin identified this creeping white stuff as Polycephalomyces tomentosus, a tiny fungus which grows on slime moulds. You could mistake it for Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa from a distance, but this species is very distinctive up close. I found a fabulous macro photo of P. tomentosus here, by Johan Dierckx.

This mossy collar around the narrow trunk of a living Spindle Euonymus europaeus is in fact a ring of bracket fungus fruiting bodies.

The fruit bodies had cinnamon pores. I'm gonna take a wild guess at this being Phylloporia ribis, which Ryvarden & Melo (2017) describe as "often encircling the branch or stem on which it is growing", "usually easy to recognise by its small basidiocarps on thin branches or at the base of thin stems"... "Euonymus seems to be the most common host". Nick took a specimen so will look forward to hearing what he makes of it.

The Foetid Parachute Gymnopus foetidus (= Micromphale foetidum) had appeared on the same log pile where we found it previously, in 2016.

I volunteered to take a look at these green/turquoise elfcups Chlorociboria sp. to determine which of the two very-similar-looking species this is. I'll need to measure the spores so I'm hoping to get a spore print.

Nick also handed me some TINY yellow dots growing on wet, well-rotted wood. Here's a close-up under the stereomicroscope.

They sure don't look like much to the naked eye. But they've got these GIGANTIC conidia. I found a nice piece about this species in the North West Fungus Group newsletter, here (opens as pdf, see page 5), if you want to know more about this crazy little dude.

Mounted in water. 100x magnification.

The find of the foray, for me, has to be Weeping Widow Lacrymaria lacrymabunda. It's a common and widespread species, but I'd never seen it before.

It gets its name from the watery droplets that appear on the cap rim and gill edges. The persistent rain provided ideal conditions to see this phenomenon!

The cap and veil are fibrous, giving the mushroom the appearance of being capped with felt.

And it's got these warty spores.

Oh and I'm also supposed to be having a go at confirming the identity of one of these grey Pluteus we found about the place. But I've been distracted by all that other funky stuff.

Have had a quick look but got in a muddle going through the keys. Images are at 400x magnification, stained with Congo Red and mounted in water.

Pileipellis: image is of a thin slice from the top of the cap. Is this a cutis? I don't know.
Horned cystidia.This should narrow things down...

I'm confused about what the 'clavate' balloon things are.

Broadly ellipsoid spores.

I make the spores about 8 - 9 microns in length.
I think this could just be Willow Shield Pluteus salicinus. But I'm not sure.

Baral, Hans-Otto & Bemmann, Martin. (2014). Hymenoscyphus fraxineus vs. Hymenoscyphus albidus – A comparative light microscopic study on the causal agent of European ash dieback and related foliicolous, stroma-forming species. Mycology. 5. 228-290.

For the record
Date: 26 August 2018
Location: Private site near Northchapel

All records to be submitted by Nick Aplin, Sussex Fungus Group