Saturday, 7 October 2017

Flatford Fungi

It's rather dry here in East Bergholt, Suffolk, but we still managed to find some cracking fungi today on Geoffrey Kibby's 'Identifying Fungi' course here at Flatford Mill.

With a fungi foray this morning and a fungi foray this afternoon, interspersed with classroom sessions on mushrooms and the basics of field mycology, topped off with an introduction to fungal microscopy, it's been a pretty fungus-filled day. I won't try and relay everything I've learned, because it's been SO MUCH! But I thought I'd share a few of the more characterful fungi that Geoffrey introduced us to, while they're fresh in my mind.

In one of the lawns near the field centre, Parrot Waxcap Gliophorus psittacinus; in shades of orange and green. Just gorgeous!

And nearby, in an area of dense, rank vegetation, Geoffrey spotted this: Blue Roundhead Stropharia caerulea.

"But that just looks a bit brown and boring", I hear you cry. Yeah, well, check this out:

The young fruiting bodies are BLUE, with pale grey gills. What a transformation.

Growing on a pile of felled elm logs, where Geoffrey has seen it before in previous years, we found some lovely Wrinkled Peach Rhodotus palmatus.

I've been wanting to see this species for a while and that young fruit body on the left didn't disappoint, with it's super-wrinkly cap.

Another species of rank grassland which we came across a few times today was Stubble Rosegill Volvopluteus (=Volvariella) gloiocephalus.

This species is notable for having a 'volva' – a bag-shaped structure at the base of the stem. A feature I'm used to seeing on Amanitas.

The volva is pretty thin and fragile though, so not always very easy to see. Makes you realise how closely you have to observe fungi in the field, to get a confident identification.

This afternoon we came across an impressive patch of Stinkhorn Phallus impudicus, growing in woodland.

Here's Geoffrey talking us through how the young fruit bodies develop, inside these egg-shaped structures.

Look at it!

On the way back we came across the Slender Parasol Macrolepiota mastoidea growing among the nettles in the corner of one of the sheep fields.

The stem surface, which is covered in small, closely-spaced brown scales, is one of the features which separates this from similar species like the Parasol Macrolepiota procera, which I've seen before (I think).

I kind of wish that whichever modern mycologists came up with common names for these species had some of the brazen literalism of 18th and 19th century fungal taxonomists who basically called these last two fungi (if you translate the latin): "Shamelessly Penis-shaped Fungus" and "Breast-shaped Mushroom". But I suppose that was in the days when ladies were not involved in mycology, and one has to behave with more decorum these days.

I might have also found a first for Suffolk, but more of that another day.

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