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.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Tuesday at the Botanical Gardens.

Last Tuesday it rained all morning so we all spent our time in the Great Glasshouse. Peter and I went for a stroll around the various flowerbeds to see if there were still any fungi about. There were a few largish groups that had collapsed into a mildewy mess but we found 4 that were still intact enough to photograph.

A large group of Collared Earthstars (Geastrum triplex) all in various stages of display, from completely closed through to completely open. A solitary Redlead Roundhead (Stropharia aurantiaca) grasping onto a piece of woodchip amongst the gravel.

We also had a rather nondescript mycena-type - there is a new book out now about Mycena, which would no doubt describe it perfectly! and the last which from it's spores, its gossamer-type veil and the nodules on the cap could be  Freckled Dapperling, Lepiota aspera.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Hair Ice ---- from Stephanie (see recent Blog)

Stephanie wanted to post this with her explanation but failed to add picture ---- before these are separated too far, here is the Hair Ice which I have never seen. 
 Colin has seen this several times in Troserch Woods.  The recent days having been very cold/frosty with no wind are OK for this to develop.

Digital Microscope

Taking on board Philip's comments from the previous post, about choosing a microscope that can check spore ornamentation as well as spore size, I would like to add that seeing the elaborate ornamentation on some spores is one of the joys of using a microscope. I have listed below some of the more attractive examples I've had recently (they all would be x1000 mag.):

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Digital Microscope

As Philip mentioned in a recent post, taking a spore print and being able to check the spores under a microscope opens up a whole new dimension to  going on a fungus foray. And as digital cameras have made photography a whole lot easier, I feel the same can be said for microscopy. I make no pretensions whatsoever to being a microscopist in any shape or form but 2 years ago I purchased a microscope from Brunel Microscopes with an inbuilt camera. It is easily linked to a PC by the included software, and I must say that I have had a lot of fun out of it. Through no fault of my own some of the images that end up on my computer screen are really pretty.

If anyone is interested in seeing how  a digital microscope works with spores etc, and what you can then do with the images when you get them, I would be only too happy to show them. I could bring it along to the Botanical Gardens on a Tuesday perhaps if Bruce could find a spare corner with a desk and an electrical socket(?)
Please let me know if you are interested.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Hair Ice in Pembrey Park.

Hair ice -- a type of ice shaped like fine, silky hairs that resembles white cotton candy -- grows on the rotten branches of certain trees when the weather conditions are just right, usually during humid winter nights when the air temperature drops slightly below the freezing point.

Scientists have now discovered exactly what gives “hair ice” its strange shape. It's caused by a fungus called Exidiopsis effusa. When the fungus is not present, ice still forms but in a crust-like structure instead. The fungus allows the ice to form thin hairs – with a diameter of about .01mm, and can keep this shape over many hours when the temperature is close to zero.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Two types of Bird's nest fungus.

The Bird's nest fungus that Peter saw a few weeks ago on the woodchip patch as you enter the National Botanic Gardens is still about. There is masses of it there. However on taking a few close-up pictures it would seem that there are two species there, all mixed up together.

Fluted Bird's Nest, Cyathus striatus, and Common Bird's nest Fungus, Crucibulum laeve

On the left we have the Fluted Bird's Nest, Cyathus striatus with its ribbed walls and on the right we have the Common Bird's nest Fungus, Crucibulum laeve, with the smooth interior. When you manage to knock a few spores off the "eggs", you will notice that these are also different as the Cyathus striatus spores are much larger.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

More Fungi from Pembrey Forest

More Fungi from Pembrey Forest. One is obviously a "Stinkhorn" Phallus impudicus, but I am not sure about the others. Any ideas?

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Holly Parachute at Pembrey

I came across this delightful little parachute fungus  a few days ago on a walk in Pembrey. It was growing on an old  Holly leaf and would appear to be  Marasmius hudsonii - Holly Parachute. Not sure how rare it is but because of its size I bet it's not seen very often!