Sunday, 13 May 2018

A trudge around Friston Forest

I found myself at the Seven Sisters Country Park yesterday, with a few hours to kill – waiting for Michael to get off work. So I decided to take myself off for a walk around Friston Forest. In the rain. 

I headed from West Dean towards the old waterworks at Friston, and was pretty underwhelmed when the first hour and half produced some Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae and some tiny stubby-looking Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon.

L: Jelly Ear Auricularia auricula-judae, far away. R: Candlesnuff Fungus Xylaria hypoxylon, up close. It was raining too hard to get good photos.
Walking along the lush verdant rides with their rabbit-cropped grassy edges, I started to wonder if I should turn my attention to botany instead.

But then, as I turned into an area of mature Beech woodland walking back in the direction of West Dean – I spotted something more interesting.

A pale fruit body standing proud from the leaflitter. Evidently pretty old, as algal growth had begun to give it a hint of green.

Underneath: an ochre / cinnamon-coloured pore surface. And a long back stipe connected the fruit body to the old twig it had been growing on.

I think what I have here is an old Blackfoot Polypore Polyporus leptocephalus. A species I've possibly come across before, but never been 100 % sure.

After trudging on for another hour through the rain, I was very excited to spot some mushrooms clustered on a rotting stump.

Getting closer, I realised they'd seen better days. But I was hopeful they were still in good enough condition to confirm an identification.

The ring around the stem would surely be a clue to their identity...

The gills were the colour of dirty dishwater – a grey-brown colour. And, later, produced a brown spore-print.

These mushrooms seem a good match for Poplar Fieldcap Cyclocybe cylindracea (previously Agrocybe cylindracea). Kind of a new one for me, although we did find an atypical-looking specimen which we identified as C. cylindracea on the Sussex Fungus Group foray at Seaford Head last year

You've got to work hard for your mycological thrills at this time of year.

For the record
Date: 12/5/2018
Location: Friston Forest
Grid reference: TV5399

Records submitted to FRDBI 07/09/2018


  1. Looks a match for Cyclocybe cylindracea Poplar Fieldcap to me. However I have also gained additional confidence for this species in finding it on the live trunk base of a poplar that is identifiable by its leaves, bark and other features. Where you have a very rotten stump and some rather over the hill fruiting bodies I would be a little more cautious. Early on when they come out as a cluster they have a delightful soft slightly off white to very light brown colour to the cap which is slightly browner in the centre.

    1. Thanks Ted. Hope to come across some fresher specimens at some point.