Sunday, 28 February 2016

A dry bottom

Typical countryside scene, Sussex, February 2016

Officially bored of trudging through mud now, so headed out with Michael and our friend Laurie up the steep northern scarp slope of the Downs, over Blackcap, and down into Ashcombe Bottom.

Ashcombe Bottom is covered in mixed deciduous woodland, growing right on top of the chalk. As a result it's much drier underfoot than my usual haunts in the Adur valley. But its sheltered position must offer a damper climate through the year, as the trees here are festooned in mosses and ferns - giving the place a slightly enchanted feel.

I'm calling that Turkeytail Trametes versicolor, again, ...

... and I think this next one is another example of Hairy Curtain Crust Stereum hirsutum, as it's got the smooth underside and hirsute, almost felt-y, upperside:

I foolishly forgot to check what kind of tree it was growing on, and this photo isn't really helping me to settle that question:

There are a few different Stereum species, some of which bleed red when damaged, and I am faintly wondering, given its fairly subdued colour, whether this might be Stereum rameale. But my books say that's generally found on slender branches and twigs and has a smoother upper surface.

In the relative dryness of Ashcombe Bottom, I got to see a couple of 'dried out' versions of jelly species I've become acquainted with recently, including:
Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae
Witches' Butter Exidia glandulosa

And we came across this, which I think is a dried out example of Peniophora quercina (like, actually Peniophora quercina this time, not Exidia thuretiana). You can see the margin is rolled back, revealing a dark underside – that is apparently a distinctive feature of Peniophora quercina:

Saw this too, growing on hazel, which looks similar but I think probably a different species:

The colour looks like it would be quite at home on a Dulux paint chart – some dusky shade of magnolia – in fact almost identical to the colour we painted our spare room where I sit and write this blog: Gentle Fawn. The other feature to note is that it's slightly crazed (and I mean crazed as in covered in fine cracks, not crazed as in CRAZED!!!!!). My guess is it's another Peniophora species but without a proper key to the different UK species I'd be loath to say which one, as there are a number which look very similar.

Also on the hazel were swarms of woodwart; I'm very tempted to call them all Hazel Woodwart Hypoxylon fuscum and be done with it. But I think there are actually a few Hypoxylon species that can be found on hazel so I might have a go at keying them out.

Also saw plenty of King Alfred's Cakes Daldinia concentrica:

It was shortly after we saw those that Michael called me over to see an impressive display of Birch Polypore Piptoporus betulinus, on a fallen birch limb.

I've seen these before but was still struck by how MASSIVE they are. That's a 50 pence piece:

Last, and least identifiable, was this flat, cinnamon-coloured and crusty-looking thing:

I think this is another Phellinus species, similar to the Phellinus I found in Rowland Wood which I've been bothering Martin Allison (the County Fungi Recorder) with.

There are two species in my (not complete) Collins' Complete Guide which look like this: Rusty Porecrust Phellinus ferruginosus and Cinnamon Porecrust P. ferreus. Microscopic examination of the spores is necessary to separate the two with certainty – which I gather is easier said than done as specimens are often not inclined to give up any spores. Perhaps I'll leave it on a piece of glass in the spare room and see what happens.

UPDATE 13/03/16 - I left it on a piece of glass in the spare room for two whole weeks. Nothing happened.

POSTSCRIPT 08/06/2016 - Have received an email from Peer Corfixen (who I guess must be this Peer Corfixen, of the Natural History Museum of Denmark) advising me that "P. ferruginosus have big (300 mm long) mycelialsetae below fruitbody and in the wood.

So that's something to look out for next time I  come across a rusty-coloured porecrust.

Thank you, Peer Corfixen. Amazing to think that real people - real mycologists! - are reading this.

For the record
Date: 28/02/2016
Fungi finders: Clare Blencowe, Michael Blencowe & Laurie Jackson
Location: Ashcombe Bottom, near Lewes
Grid reference: TQ3711
Entered into FRDBI: 13/02/2017

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