Monday, 8 May 2017

A busy October this year.

We have a pretty busy month this October, please make a note of the events we have listed below, but as always check for details again nearer the time as things could change.

October 5th Thursday: Ynysdawela, a nature reserve near Brynamman. Isabel has kindly offered  to take us around, what is probably a new area for all of us. More details of time and location will be posted nearer the day.
October 7th Saturday: Sandbanks, Llanllwch: Fungus-finding walk. Meet at the Carmarthen 'Park-and Ride' off the A48 west of Carmarthen, SN 382190, 2.00pm. Walk by kind permission of Di and Emily Ivens. Joint meeting with Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales
October 21st Saturday: Pembrey Country Park: Fungus-finding walk. Leader Philip Jones. Meet at the Sidan Restaurant, SN405006, 2:00pm. Country Park entrance charge applies.
October 29th Sunday: We have penciled this in as the date for  our regular visit to the Black Mountains, which usually turns out to be quite productive. Weather is always a factor up in the wilds of the Black Mountain so please check again around the time.
October 15th Sunday: Fungus day at the Botanical Gardens of Wales. Shall be looking to Bruce to provide another excellent day out for everyone - no pressure Bruce!
October 14th Saturday: An outing to look for items for Tony's Table at the Gardens tomorrow. Last year we went around Pont Felin Gat, but this year we will probably have to look elsewhere because of the improvements going on there.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Calocybe gambosa ---- St George's Mushroom

I know Colin recently posted pictures of this from his patch,  I stumbled across these, partial ring, at Pembrey Old Harbour.  The grass is extremely thick and long so fungi were hidden away.  Even so the grass seemed even thicker along the ring.  I have also seen the patch at the public FP along edge of Ffrwd although these were (today) in a state of decay.

Impossible to see fungi along line of my stick (centre of picture).

Monday, 17 April 2017

Dune Brittlestem psathyrella ammophila

Dune Brittlestem psathyrella ammophila

Dune Brittlestem (psathyrella ammophila), found growing on the sand-dunes of Pembrey beach. It would appear that this little fungus survives by absorbing what it can from the dead roots of marram grass and other sund-dune plants.

Monday, 10 April 2017

St. George's Mushroom, Calocybe gambosa.

Calocybe gambosa, St. Geoge's mushroom.

Every year around this time a patch of grass in the park at Five Roads will offer up a small collection of Calocybe gambosa, and this year was no different. It is commonly known as St.George's mushroom because of its habit of arriving around St' George's Day every year (23rd April), and is supposedly a much sought after delicacy.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Reticularia lycoperdon ---- False Puffball

Reticularia (Enteredium) lycoperdon --- the False Puffball is a Slime mould (Myxomycete).
Colin put a younger looking specimen on Blog (18.3.2014) and there was a comment asking ---- if it might be dangerous.  Not dangerous but I was very suspicious of this deposit on a conifer stump as it looked much like a 'dog-deposit' so touched with care!  When cut into the powdery spore mass was obvious and microscopy confirms this species.  The French common name for puffball is 'vesse de loup' or 'woolf's fart' and for this Myxo is exactly the same as the English = 'fausse vesse de loup'.  there are other 'common names' such as 'Caca de luna' = Moon's excrement so it is not surprising that I was suspicious.    

Friday, 7 April 2017

Strobilurus tenacellus --- Pine Conecap

Strobilurus tenacellus --- Pine Conecap can be found in Pembrey (and elsewhere under pines) in Feb -March.  There are three species which all  look similar, the other two -- S.stephanocystis and S. esculentus, so which do we have.  Emily and Tony put on the Blog (10/4/2015) pictures of ones they found in their wood.  The taste of the cap is said to be bitter for S.tenacellus but Tony did not find any trace of bitterness so wondered if it could be one of the others.  This year I tasted several fb's and none were bitter.  This feature  seems to be important as the Key in 'Funga Nordica' divides 'bitter' from the mild-taste ones which are the other two!  Time of year for 'fruiting' is said to help --- S.tenacellus = early spring to summer, S.esculentus = early spring to autumn and S.stephanocystis = early spring to autumn but 'peaks' said to be differnt.  Not much help!  S.tenacellus found on burried cones of Pine but also Picea (Spruce), S. stephanocystis on Pine cones and S. esculentus on cones of Picea. 
The most reliable way to tell which species is to do microscopy --- the cystidia are quite distinctive.  These are cells on the edge or sides of the gills.  Microscpy shows those of S.tenacellus ---- at last!
The fungus grows from a buried cone ---- either near the surface or deeply buried so can have a very long rhizomorph (don't know if that is the name!) joining the cone to base of stipe. How does the cone get the spores to start 'infection' when the cone can be 5cm or more beneath the soil surface?  I presume the spores --- released in springtime float up to the tree canopy to start life by attaching onto a female flower which would be open at the same time of year.  Cunning!  Any ideas?

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Yellow Fieldcap (Bolbitius titubans)

Yellow Fieldcap   (Bolbitius titubans)

With a little help from Fungus UK, it would seem that this delightful little fungus, found in Pembrey Forest yesterday is Yellow Fieldcap, Bolbitius titubans,  also known as the Egg Yolk Fungus. The First Nature website says:

 This colourful little mushroom of rich grassland and roadside verges  is one of the shortest-lived of all mushrooms. It goes from a yellow 'egg on a stick' via a pinkish parasol stage to a mid-to-dark brown or, in hot dry weather, light ochre mushroom in less than a day.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Common Morels in Pembrey Forest.

There were several Common Morels (Morchella esclenta) scattered along the sandy paths in Pembrey Forest this morning, plus about half a dozen other species.

Monday, 3 April 2017

This year's Fungus events with Llanelli Naturalists

October 7th Saturday: Sandbanks, Llanllwch: Fungus-finding walk. Meet at the Carmarthen 'Park-and Ride' off the A48 west of Carmarthen, SN 382190, 2.00pm. Walk by kind permission of Di and Emily Ivens. Joint meeting with Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

October 21st Saturday: Pembrey Country Park: Fungus-finding walk. Leader Philip Jones. Meet at the Sidan Restaurant, SN405006, 2:00pm. Country Park entrance charge applies.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Polyporus (Lentinus) brumalis ---- Winter Polypore

Lentinus (Polyporus) brumalis --- Winter Polypore --- Emily put this species on the Blog on 14th March when I said I had not seen this for some years!  I have just seen that it has changed its name --- just to confuse us further.  These were in Pembrey CP on a fallen bit of Birch. This was pictured yesterday but seen on same bit of wood two weeks ago (day after Emily saw her ones). 

A very similar looking polypore is Polyporus leptocephalus ---- Blackleg Polypore --- shown below which were photographed by Paul Aubrey (the recently appointed warden at Pembrey CP and saltings who is mainly a 'bird' man but looks at everything) on Willow which is the most common host.  The english name 'blackleg'  is obvious but the black can be just the base of stipe (foot) or all the way up.  The cap surface of these polypore (and many other) species get browsed by slugs, snais and beetles so cap colour has completely gone.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


First of the season at N.B.G.W. Coprinus I think but not sure about species -comatus perhaps ?

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Caloscypha fulgens

Caloscypha fulgens --- no common name.  Found by Stephanie Thomas on March 11th in Pembrey Forest (SN 388 020).  There are just 21 collections on FRDBI records and is a RDL species.  So a great find. This is a quite distinctive 'cup-fingus' from the shade of yellow which turns greenish with age and on handling.

Caloscypha fulgens

Stephanie also took a habitat photo which is very useful as this shows Birch at the side of a path.  The main tree in the forest is Pine (var maritima).  As there are so few records, books give a variety of associated trees/shrubs.

In 'Fungi of Switz' 1(plate 97) they say Otto Baral (one of the foremost European mycologists) considers it as mycorrhyzal with Abies (Silver Fir)--- but this was 1981!

Colin  has done microscopy --- below ---- which shows the round spores and that the ascus tip is not blue in iodine stain  -- Meltzers iodine --- and, last picture there is one of the 'paraphyses' and these ar 'Y'-shaped.

Polyporus brumalis

Winter polypore.


After a caving trip filled with amazing formations I found a group of these beauties on some fallen Ash branches just outside Llygad Llwchwr 2 cave (in a sink near the source of the river Loughor).
I always love finding Polypores, there is something great about turning a cap and stemmed fungus over and finding pores.
Pleased to say I even did the microscopy! Cylindrical to sausage shaped spores so not the uncommon Polyporus ciliatus.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sarcoscypha austriaca var lutea

Just an update on Emily's “not so Scarlet Elf Cup”, found in Di's wood near Llanllwch.

Phillip has checked over previous issues of “Field Mycology” and notes:

“This is a splendid find ---- last Tues I dug deep into my memory but did not reach the folder/file in time. Vague memories of a 'white' Elfcup. This is Sarcoscypha austriaca var lutea first described from Austria 1999 -- first UK record from N.Wales 27.2.2005 then N.Somerset in Jan 2008 and Denbeigh, n.Wales 2011. No other records I can see. I expect 'birders' would call this a 'leutistic' form as it seems to be a lack of certain chemical pigments (carotein etc) that would give the 'scarlet' colour otherwise just like a 'normal' fb. ”.

Philip has the relevant volumes of “Field Mycology”, should you be interested, and well done to Emily and Di.

I have put the species name in the post title above and have listed the photos again below - in case anyone out there in cyberspace should be looking for examples.

The Orange and Scarlet forms together.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Pictures of the not so scarlet elf cup.

I added a red one for comparison...

Orange Scarlet Elfcup?

At our microscope talk, Emily and Di brought along an orange-coloured Elf cup, which apart from growing a small branch looked for all the world like Aleuria aurantia, the orange peel fungus. (Emily/Di do you have a photo of it??). However looking at the spores etc it does show all the characteristics of Sarcocypha austriaca, the Scarlet Elf Cup: i.e truncated spores, measuring ~31x13 μm. nodule growth on some spores and curly rather than straight hairs on the outer surface. These are all shown below.

There doesn't seem to be much information about orange-coloured Sarcoscypha on the internet, have you seen any before Philip?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Hi, found this little waxcap on a patch of fairly improved patch of grass (within less improved field), which I thought was just H.pratensis but had a pink/peach spore print. Any ideas?

Cap: 20mm wide, dry, brown with paler edges and some striation at edges. Flat slightly umbonate. Gills: Paler brown, adnate, remote. Stem: 2mm x 25mm brown-tan paler at top

Monday, 20 February 2017

Microscope Course

Bruce has very kindly booked the Aqualab for our Introductory Microscope course on Tuesday 7th March. We have the room from 10.00 -2.00, but will need about an hour to get everything in and set it up, so will begin about 11.00.  For a start I just want to show what a digital microscope can do and how it can measure spores; give some idea of their price and show what you can do with the digital images afterwards to give a better picture.

That will use up just about all my expertise so if we enjoy it perhaps someone else can take us a little bit further at a later date.

If you are coming please let us know so we can get some idea of numbers and if you can't make it on 7th March please let me know as well as we could easily organise a venue for a smaller group soon after.

Hopefully see you there.
Best wishes.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Microscope course

As regards our proposed "introduction to microscopes get together" what times of the week would be better for people.  I'm quite flexible and could make weekends or weekdays so if you have a preference please let us know.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Exidia recisa = Amber Jelly

This is a good time of year to look for this and best seen after days of rain as we have had.  Look at small willow twigs at head-height.  Exidia recisa has several english names.  Willow is the most common host but can be on some other trees.  A similar looking species is found on Birch, Exidia repanda.
When frosted it can look splendid particularly in sunny weather.  After several dry, hot days it will form an inconspicuous crust to soon revive after rain.

Pleurotus ostreatus = Oyster Mushroom

A nice large clump of Oyster mushrom Pleurotus ostreatus were found at Pontnewydd during early January.  These were on fallen willow but it grows on a wide range of broadleaf trees.  There is an old mineral railway line (and old canal) from Kidwelli to Pontyates with a decent public FP.  This is an easy walk and interesting as usually fairly wet ditches when some fungi can be found most of the year.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Not sure if this will work but this is my first attempt at posting photos myself

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Cobalt Crust (Terana caerulea)

Found a mass of Cobalt Crust Fungus whilst walking the dog through Pembrey Forest yesterday.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Digital Microscopes

Linda asked about the cost of a microscope. Some of the prices you see online can frighten you and my own experience is very limited. However I know what I bought and can give the following info.

I purchased a microscope from Brunel Microscopres and it cost me about £500.00.

 It was an SP45D. the "D" meaning it is digital and can be attached to a PC to view and take pictures. Although the screen shot is far less  detailed than looking down the eyepiece, I feel it is good enough to measure spores and ornamentation etc and the pictures can be improved a lot by software, which I can show at our microscope talk in the new year.

The camera on my microscope is 1.3M and I see that Brunel do a monocular microscope (SP20D) with the same camera for just under £300, which presumably takes the same images as mine. It also does a similar microscope with a better 3M camera,  (SP27D) for just over £400.

However I see that the same Brunel Microscopes are for sale at for about 10% less and free postage.

All the best.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Flammulina velutipes, Velvet Shank.

As winter approaches you will see a lot of Velvet Shank, Flammulina velutipes, on broadleaf branches and stumps. On Saturday I went up to the Upper Lliedi Reservoir, where on Salix in different parts of the wood I found the following two fungi.

The pale one had all the characteristics of F. velutipes, but was obviously a different colour so I measured the spores to see if it may be something different. They both gave a white spore print but the spores were different sizes. The trouble was it was the pale one that had the correct spore size for F. velutipes and those for the dark one were bigger. I thought I had got the spore samples mixed up so I re-checked them and it was the dark fungus that had the large spores.  Not thinking a lot more about it I put the pale one on the Fungi UK forum to see if anyone knew of a pale version of F. velutipes. Adam from the Pembs group  came back to say there was a BMS article suggesting that F. velutipes growing on Salix with larger spores was in fact another species altogether namely F. elastica.

F. velutipes from Stradey Woods.

Yesterday I went for a walk around Stradey Woods and there growing on a Beech log was more F. velutipes,  which I then took home and measured the spores. This time they were the correct size. In fact putting the pictures of the spores together the difference is quite noticeable as you can see from the picture below.

Different sized spores from F. elastica and F. velutipes.

What a palaver! I could very well be wrong but from spore sizes alone, what it may be is that the top picture is F. elstica, the second picture is a pale version of F. velutipes and the third picture is a normal F. velutipes.