Sunday, 9 October 2016

Not working at the work party

The monthly conservation work parties started again today at Butterfly Conservation's Park Corner Heath and Rowland Wood reserves in Sussex. Michael was going, so I tagged along. It's a nice chance to see some familiar faces and snaffle a slice of Carolla's amazing ginger cake.

It's also UK Fungus Day today, which seemed like the perfect excuse to slack off and go looking for mushrooms.

I headed for the Big Beech, which I've talked about before, to see if Time had brought any new species to this dead wood Goliath.

The bark is now well-covered with Woodwart, a Hypoxylon species, and in many places the bark is breaking off to reveal the bare wood underneath.

I was fascinated to see these tiny grey fruit bodies bursting through the bark, underneath one of the huge fallen limbs.

More searching revealed some larger fruit bodies growing along the side.

I feel like I should be able to sell this colour palette to Farrow & Ball, or one of those other posh paint companies.

The light grey caps were dripping with a clear slime. I reckon that makes this a young Porcelain Fungus Oudemansiella mucida, which grows in clusters on dead Beech. The Collins Complete (photographic) Guide says this species is sometimes greyish when young.

I didn't see much else new happening around the Big Beech. The Schizophyllum commune looks like it's had its day; there are just some dried out and mollusc-eaten remains where I saw it growing in February.

A Bolete poked its cap up through the grass nearby. I think this may be Brown Birch Bolete Leccinum scabrum, but it looked so at-home I didn't want to start interfering with it to confirm the ID. I thought I'd leave it for others to enjoy.

Back on Park Corner Heath I saw a few other species...

This looked like a good match for Deer Shield Pluteus cervinus, growing up from a decaying (broadleaf) tree stump.

I had my first encounter with the Pluteus just the other day, so I thought I'd better get a good look at it to be sure. Here you can see the gills are 'free' (not attached to the stem) which is a feature of Pluteus. It should produce a pink spore print so I've got this little mushroom sitting on my desk now, waiting to test that.

I also heard, or read somewhere that a distinctive microscopic feature of P. cervinus is the structures called cystidia on the end of the gills which have horned ends. (There's a good illustration here.)

I thought I'd have a go at looking for these with my microscope. And I found them!

Cystidia on the gill edges of P. cervinus ornamented with horns.
Woop! Woop!

Also saw this Ganoderma species (australe?) growing on one of the old Beeches which line the Parish boundary along the old (ditch and) bank.

The conservation work party volunteers also found a brown mushroom with yellow gills, spotted rust-brown with age. I think this may have been one of the Rustgills or Gymnopilus species, which would be a new group for me. But I've got to go and do things like cook dinner and put a wash on now, so I'd better leave it there.

For the record
Date: 9/10/2016 - UK FUNGUS DAY!
Location: Park Corner Heath & Rowland Wood
Grid ref: Big Beech is at TQ514150; Deer Shield found at TQ511150
Entered into FRDBI: 13/02/2017

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