Saturday, 30 September 2017

Mushroom Madness at Tilgate Park

There were... So. Many. Mushrooms. At Tilgate Park today.

I was there on a foray with Kevin Lerwill from the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership and Nick Aplin of the Sussex Fungus Group. You could hardly take a step without finding something new for the list. I spent most of the foray either taking photographs or scribbling furiously, in an effort to remember what we'd seen.

I won't attempt to list everything we saw, as a full species list will be circulated on the Sussex Fungus Group Yahoo! group in due course; but these were a few of the highlights for me...

On a decaying cypress stump, by the entrance to the walled garden, we came across these mushrooms.

They were nice-looking things, with a purplish hue to the young cap and a distinctive velvet-y stem. I couldn't place them at all, but Nick tentatively identified them as Gymnopus obscuroides (to be confirmed). It looks like this species was only fairly recently described, from collections in Southern England, and there's a paper on it here.

Nearby, growing among the grass, we came across our first Lepiota species – one of the Dapperlings. I took this, and a couple of other, very-similar-looking Lepiota, as specimens so I'll try and key them out later.

I was pleased I managed to recognise this next species, having come across it a few times on previous forays: Rooting Shank Xerula radicata. The long stem and slightly wrinkled cap gave it away. Looking closely, I noticed faint striations running in an almost perfect spiral up the stem: a really beautiful feature, on an otherwise quite underwhelming mushroom!

The Amethyst Deceiver Laccaria amethystina was putting on a really stunning show. There were loads of them, in perfect condition.

I was pleased to finally meet The Miller Clitopilus prunulus, with its distinctive odour which smelled just like pancake batter to me.

We soon came across another mushroom with a distinctive smell: the Coconut Milkcap Lactarius glyciosmus. The odour seemed rather faint to me, but I think I did get a slight whiff of coconut.

I'm still mainly ignoring Cortinarius species, unless they've got some really striking feature. But this one reeled me in: the Frosty Webcap Cortinarius hemitrichus

There is another similar-looking species, the Pelargonium Webcap Cortinarius flexipes, which smells strongly like pelargoniums. The mushrooms we found didn't smell of much.

This slightly odd-looking thing is a Lilac Fibrecap Inocybe geophylla var. lilacina.

The mushrooms were coming thick and fast as we walked through the parkland. Here we have a spectacular crop of Shaggy Scalycap Pholiota squarrosa.

These Larch Bolete Suillus grevillei, growing under Larch, were also rather lovely. And very slimy.

This freakish yellow blob is Dyers Mazegill Phaeolus schweinitzii...

... as is this, if you can believe it.

I was slightly underwhelmed when I first came across Dyers Mazegill Phaeolus schweinitzii at Tilgate Park last year (in the same spot). But these pair are seriously impressive.

At the base of the dead trunk where the Dyers Mazegill Phaeolus schweinitzii was growing, we found this clump of Spectacular Rustgill Gymnopilus junonius, just going over.

We were treated to even more spectacular autumn colour with this Orange Peel Fungus Aleuria aurantia. It was so orange!

Then, somewhat less spectacular, but one I feel like I should remember because it's very common: Common Rustgill Gymnopilus penetrans.

Moving on, under the boughs of an old oak tree, we came across this purplish Cortinarius.

Nick identified this as Bruising Webcap Cortinarius purpurascens; a species he's found here before. Surprisingly, we came across this species again, as we moved underneath one of the Beech trees. It is mycorrhizal with oak though, so we assumed it was still associated with the roots of the oak, where they'd spread underground.

I think this next one is a new genus for me: a Hebeloma.

I know, it doesn't look like much. But it's worth looking at the gills which glisten with watery droplets. You can just about make out that some of the droplets are turning brown. This is a key feature of Poisonpie Hebeloma crustuliniforme.

In another new genus for me, Nick Aplin identified these mushrooms as Clustered Domecap Lyophyllum decastes. A relative of the Japanese Shimeji mushrooms which you see in posh supermarkets sometimes.

Moving into a heathy area, with pines, Nick introduced us to Sprucecone Cap Strobilurus esculentus, growing out of fallen spruce cones.

There was a good crop of Trumpet Chanterelle Cantharellus tubaeformis under the trees. We also found a Rollrim Paxillus species on the heath which, after receiving a tip from Lukas Large last week that a Paxillus growing on heath could be Paxillus cuprinus, I'll try and take a look at under the microscope. I didn't get a photo as it didn't look very interesting.

Besides, I was far too distracted by this gorgeous Greenfoot Fibrecap Inocybe calamistrata. Growing not far from where we found it last year.

Look at it! There's just so much going on with this mushroom.

Also around here we came across a few Bovine Boletes Suillus bovinus...

... Together with Rosy Spike Gomphidius roseus, which is thought to be parasitic on the Bovine Bolete Suillus bovinus. (There's more about this on the first-nature website, here.)

Among the pines, we came across this lovely velvety and squidgy bracket: Benzoin Bracket Ischnoderma benzoinum. Another new species for me.

And as we turned to head back to the car park, we passed this wonderful patch of rosey-pink mushrooms.

Nick was inclined to call these Mycena pura. I am still very confused about where to draw the line between M. pura and M. rosea.

There was still time for a few interesting finds on the way back to the car park.

Smoky Bracket Bjerkandera adusta.

And Lumpy Bracket Trametes gibbosa.

And a grey Knight Tricholoma sp. which has come home with me, so I'll have to see if I can put a species name to it.

Last – and least in size – we came across a slime mould growing on a rotting tree stump. Only about 1 mm tall, but pictured here under the stereomicroscope. The stalks are covered by a silvery sheath which Bruce Ing has described as looking like 'silk stockings', which makes this Stemonitopsis typhina.

For the record
Date: 30/09/2017
Location: Tilgate Park

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


  1. Almost makes up for not being there (too far a drive for me) and also very useful tips on what to expect tomorrow when I take my son's school class out on a foray. Really good to know what those long stemmed purplish brown tough shanks are (or could be) having looked at similar fungi many times and given up on an identification.

    1. Hope you had a good foray with your son's class, Ted. Those brown mushrooms with the felty stems were really nice! Must look out for them again.