Saturday, 27 August 2016

Funeral / Fungus-foray for Tony Ivens.

Last Saturday, 22nd August, we were invited to join in this singular and imaginative occasion as a tribute to Tony.  Instructions were to meet at 10.30 wearing suitable footwear and that dogs were welcome.

Some years ago Tony had bought Sandbank, an area of broadleaf woodland formed on a gravel pit / quarry (the stone having been used to build the GWR railway which touches one border of the site).  The bulk of Tony's fungus finds came from this wood which meant so much to him.
The burial took place in an open area at the centre of this wood.  Diane, his widow, gave an account of his interesting and colourful life.  Emily, his daughter and keen finder of fungi, had gathered a bag full of Common Earthball Scleroderma citrinum which we were invited to throw onto the wicker coffin.
Those who wished then did a 'foray', walking this splendid wood looking for fungi.  It is just a year ago that Tony showed a group of us around his wood (see Carmarthenshire Fungus Blog Archive 11th August 2015 giving a list of species found that day).
The 'foray' through the wood was an integral part of the funeral for Tony.  A simple but appropriate tribute to our friend.
Gyroporus castaneus Chestnut Bolete, one of the fungi found (the English name describes the colour).  Another 'bolete' found was Boletus pulverulentus Inkstain Bolete which was also found last year.  The common name describes the instant blue colour that occurs when it is touched or cut.
Fewer fungi were seen on this occasion than last year.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Tony Ivens

It is with the utmost sadness that I have to inform followers of Carmarthenshire Fungi that Tony Ivens passed away on Friday evening. He was an avid fungi grower, finder and identifier and took the science of mycology very seriously, whilst sharing his knowledge with others so generously. He will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Lactarius britannicus (or L. fulvissimus)

The Tawny Milkcap

There is dissent in the ranks!!!

Some authors suggest that L.britannicus and L. fulvissimus are in fact one and the same species. Others disagree and separate the two.

 I'm going with L. britannicus for one reason alone.
 In his key to \the British Milkcaps, Geoffrey Kibby describes them as two species. Both species appear morphologicaly identical as far as I can see, except for one thing - the milk of L. britannicus is described as "turning yellow when placed on a white handkerchief" (yes I know - in the age of tissues, who carries a white handkerchief?). This is not the case for L. fulvissimus.
The milk of these fb's turned distinctly yellow, so I think I'll opt for L. britannicus.
They were growing under a patch of Hazel which doesn't help much! Until someone runs the DNA - - - - - - 

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Russula subfoetens

No common name

Amongst the 18 spp which I found in NBGW this week were a couple of Russula - all too slug damaged to identify.
 However I've just come across another Russula in the wood which was in near perfect condition.
Funga Nordica lists over 150 spp of Russula, most of which are in Geoffrey Kibby's "Key to the Genus Russula" - which is what I used to key these out.
Although R. subfoetens has a number of distinguishing features, none of them are instantly obvious.
The cap reacts to KOH and the gills are hot and acrid (I really wish he didn't make me taste them!!!), the stem is cavernous and turns brown when exposed to the air. Normally, looking at the shape and size of the spores is enough, however in this case it required measuring the size of the warts growing on the surface of the spores and the extent of the connective tissue between them.

It's a bit like trying to count how many angels are dancing on the head of a pin, and oh, by the way could you please tell me the steps they are doing!
A little while ago I found another Russula growing in the wood which enjoys the lovely name - The Greasy Green Brittlegill. If only greasy and green were all it took to identify it!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Today in NBGW

Lactarius circellata

Not one of the most common of the Milkcaps, but often found under Hornbeam. 
And Trawscoed Wood is full of Hornbeam!

Leccinum scabrum

A member of the Bolete family, the genus is easily distinguished by the scaly stipe.

These rather disgusting "blobs" are the dried remains of a Myxomycete - Fuligo septica.

They are all over the straw bales which make up the maze.

Clavulina cinerea

This one actually has a common name - Grey Coral.
Another woodland species.

And finally - - -
I came across 18 different species today, most of which were in the woods. 

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.