Friday, 22 July 2016

Bulgaria inquinans ---- Black Bulgar

Bulgaria inquinans - Black Bulgar is a very common ascomycete.  It is particularly common on Oak, as here, but also other deciduous trees.  I usually find it on fallen branches which have obviously been on the ground for some time.  The trunk of this tree broke about 5m from the base and these fb's would have been about a further 5m up from the break.  This break happened last winter (see Blog 26.4.2016 --- Perriporia fraxinia, on another Oak nearby that fell during same storm) so the trunk has only been on the ground for about 6 months.  Has this patch of Bulgaria recently colonised the fallen tree or were they present high up before the tree broke?
Microscopy is interesting as the 8 ascospores show dimorphism, the upper four spores are large and black but the lower four small and colourless.
 This fungus has a host of common names in addition to Black Bulgar ---- eg., Popes Buttons.  It seems to have interesting chemical properties. An alcoholic extract has been shown to affect histamine ---- so stops itching in mice (antipruritic and antierythematous effect).  The fungus also has the chemicals bulgariclactane -A and -B which kill nematodes.  A water soluble polysaccharide has anti-malarial activity in malaria-bearing mice.   All usefull stuff!
Although considered a delicacy in parts of China it is best avoided due to reports of unpleasant effects --- poisoning.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Simocybe sumptuosa

No common name.

Growing on a piece of fallen branch (Oak), and with a finely hairy base to the stem, these could easily have been taken for one of the Mycena.
However the spores turned out to be brown, rather than the white of the Mycena.

There are only five species of Simocybe listed in Funga Nordica, and I was lucky that this is the only species with distinctly kidney shaped spores which saved a lot of microscopy trying to measure the Cheilocystidia.
It is also the largest of the five species - the caps of these were around 35 - 40 mm in diameter, significantly larger than the other alternatives.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Helvella elastica ---- Elastic Saddle and Helvella atra.

Helvella elasica -- Elastic Saddle is an occasional find. This is from the 'Ashpits' woods at the edge of Burry Port.  These have been seen in the same small area for several years (not 2015 which was drier).  They are under Hazel planted at this spot in 2000.  They are in dark shade so photography was difficult.

The colours are rather different in better light!

These were from the same spot in July 2007.  The fertile heads are distorted so must have been affected by something.

Helvella atra --- has a similar shape and size but has a dark fertile head.  This is a much less common species.  These were photographed in the Forest of Dean.  In Sept 1994 Geoffrey Kibby made a collection from Pont Felin Gat during a BMS foray based in Swansea.  Many years ago I found some on a river bank at Trosserch Woods.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Agaricus urinascens var. excellens

(Formerly Agaricus excellens)

A few species appeared this week in the National Botanic Garden.

Most notable of these was this Agaricus growing on the straw bales of the new maze.
It appears to have been "demoted" from a species in it's own right to simply a variety of A. urinascens.
Under the microscope the spores of the two species are identical, however the big difference is the smell. A. urinascens (as the name suggests) smells quite disgusting, whereas var. excellens has that slightly aniseedy smell typical of many Agaricus sp.
As far as I can see there are no records for it here under either name, so a new Welsh record and a first for the Gardens.

Panaeolus papilionaceus var. papilionaceus

When I first saw these in the grass with the remains of the veil hanging off the cap and a stem which snapped as soon as I touched it, I thought they were going to be one of the Brittlestems (Psathyrella).

They are in fact  Mottlegills. 
It's easy to see how it got it's common name - The Petticoat Mottlegill - with the frilly edges to the cap.
As the cap ages, these drop off making it far less easy to identify.

What is less obvious is the Latin name. Someone must have had an extremely vivid imagination to think it in any way resembled a butterfly!

Hygrocybe ceracea. The Butter Waxcap.

A couple of weeks ago the first of the Waxcaps appeared in the grass close to the Great Glasshouse.
Now a second species - the Butter Waxcap has appeared in the Double Walled Garden.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Roridomyces austrorida

Dripping Bonnet

The caps of these little Mycena were no more than 1cm in diameter, and growing on dead stems in a Bramble thicket, so easily missed.
The "slime" on the lower part of the stem gives them their other common name which is the Slimy Bonnet.

Some sources seem to suggest that the fruiting bodies can give off bioluminescence. I've tried looking at them in the dark, but can't say I've ever seen any evidence of this? (Have you Philip?) 

Most of the records (any many of the Fieldguides) list them under their old name which Mycena rorida.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Psathyrella piluliformis

Stump Brittlestem

By no means an unusual species, this is listed in some of my books as P. hydrophilia.
It seems to favour growing on Oak in the wood, but I'm sure it's found on other deciduous species.
There were over 50 fb's in this single troop.

I was pleased to be able to get a good photo of the partial veil still covering some of the gills. As the caps expands they will soon disappear, with perhaps just a few fragments remaining around the edge of the cap.

As the caps age they gradually fade to a creamy colour (like those in the centre of this group).
 For some reason the slugs don't seem particularly partial to them, so I often come across older specimens of them.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Calocera pallidospathulata ---- Pale Stagshon

Pale Stagshorn Calocera pallidospathulata was found today at Dinas RSPB (when not looking for birds!) on a very rotten log, possibly Alder. This species was first found in Yorkshire in 1969 then gradually spread to all parts of the UK. Recognized by the pale, usually unbranched fb and has a wide substrate range.
Tony, 18th June posted Calocera cornea Small Stagshorn which is similar but does not become spathulate and is of uniform yellow colour.