Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Dendrocollybia racemosa --- another 'piggyback' fungus.

This is like no other species I know of.  Like Volvarilla surrecta Piggyback Rosegill, this grows on another fungus --- in this case Lactarius deliciosus or L deterrimus, both of which have orange 'juice'.  Some books which have this species say the side branches are 'aborted caps' but they are specialised structures that produce asexual (budding) spores from their tips.  The fungus therefore has conventional spores on gills under the caps and asexual spores from the branches.  Not all 'stipes' have a cap at the top as with some this is missing and replaced by the budding structure.
Each stipe grows from a small 'pea-like' structure, a sclerotium, but these are not seen in the picture.  This is a relatively rare species but cannot be mistaken for any other fungus.  I found it at the same spot for several years at Trimsaran and then just one of these small spikes in Pembrey Forest, where the Lactarius can be found, so it is potentially wherever the Lactarius fruits ---- just keep looking!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Memories of Giant Puffballs

 Calvatia gigantia Giant Puffball.

The blog of Nov 3rd and subsequent comments brought back memories of Noel Tallowin to some of us.  Ian Morgan had a feast of these in c.1975.
These are others from that field as there were very many.
It is interesting that they have been spotted in a field near Trimsaran this year.  As these were from a field on the road from there to Kidwelli about 40 years ago, has it taken this long for them to 'fruit' again?

These are the ones left on my front doorstep by Noel.

If I could work out how old Christopher was, I could confirm the year!  He looks about 12 so that would be 1975.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Piggyback Rosegill an exciting find by Tony Ivens.

On 6th November Veronica posted several pictures from Pwll grassland including a Volvariella and I found more of this Stubble Rosegill, pictured on 10th, showing the bag-like base (volva).
Volvariella surrecta, Piggyback rosegill.  Tony sent me these photos taken in his wood near Carmarthen having correctly identified them as this rare species --- which does not seem to have been previously recorded from Wales.  He took care to look at the base of the stipe which has a prominent volval sac and found this was sitting on another decaying fungus.
The lighting was not good for photos so I asked Tony if he could send a fb --- but he did better and went out in the rain to collect some and drove to Burry Port with his 'prize'.

There were several of these under oak and seemingly on old Clouded Funnel, Clitocybe nebularis.

This is the 'offering'.  The caps in this species are smaller than with Stubble Rosegill, whiteish rather than grey.  The volva, seen in the centre, is quite firm and the gills pink (hence 'rosegill').  The gills seen on the right (above) are of the host fungus, Clouded Funnel.  The stipe surface of the central fb seems 'shaggy', possibly affected by the weather but the stipe behind this is more smoothe which is normal.
The Rev Berkley considered this 'a most elegant and curious species'.
This is the most common 'host', Clouded Funnel, Clitocybe nebularis.  I know of a spot at the 'Ashpits Woodlands', Burry Port where these may be found and was fortunate to see a nice large ring of them this afternoon.  It was raining quite hard so photos are not very good.  This is quite a common species.  I do not think it is established if the Rosegill is a parasite on the Funnel or just saprotrophic, feeding on decaying Funnel.  A few other agarics have been recorded as hosts but this is the most common species.  
I am drying the Volvariella in case Kew would like a specimen, being the first Welsh record, and took the remains (of old Clouded Funnel) to see if I could 'infect' the local Clitocybe ring!  If it does work I have no idea how long before we might find Volvariella at the 'Ashpits Woodland' ---- so watch this space.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Laccaria bicolor --- Bicoloured deceiver

 Laccaria bicolor Bicoloured deceiver.

Colin showed a nice Amethyst Deceiver recently and most will be familiar with (or have been deceived by) Laccaria laccata, the Deceiver.

An occasional find is this other Deceiver although the differences must be looked for rather carefully.  The gills usually have a lilac or violet tint and the stipe has a violet basal tomentum (fluffiness!).

The spores are a not quite as globose (round) as those shown by Colin (L. amethystina) but more broadly ellipsoid.

This group were found at the end of September in Brechfa Forest, on a walk named Keeper's Path.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Hygrocybe mucronella ---- Bitter Waxcap

Hygrocybe mucronella.
Waxcaps and earthtongues have suddenly come up all over the fixed dunes.  These red/orange species can be confusing.  The gills with this one are deep orange with a paler edge, adnate to decurrent.  Boertmann (The Genus Hygrocybe) says 'there is large variation in size and shape of fruitbodies ---but once the bitter taste is recorded the identification is certain'.  Touch the cap edge with the tip of your tongue and the distinct bitter taste is immediately experienced.
Boertmann suggests 'kissing' the cap and stipe of many waxcaps to tell if the species has a dry or viscid coating.  The tip of the tongue is required for this species.  Care needs to be exercised while conducting such tests on fungi in case you are observed by the local constabulary who do not have sutch behaviour explained in their manual.  It has been known for a mycologist to spend a night in the cells after he was observed acting strangely on an Aberystwyth hillside but could not convince the officer that he was examining mushrooms.

Dog's vomit slime mould, Mucilago crustacea

 Mucilago crustacea or 'the dog (or cat's) been sick' depending on the nature of your pet.  This is a common Myxomycete (Slime Mould), particularly of limestone areas and many such areas of 'vomit' were found today on fixed dunes at Pembrey, east of the Country Park.

Bruce Ing says in his handbook 'The Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland' that he has had many enquiries about how to eradicate this from lawns and golf links so has to convince owners that it is harmless and will vanish after the first heavy rain shower.

Beautiful mushroom with beautiful spores

Found this beautiful Amethyst deceiver (Laccaria amethystina) nestling at the base of a pine tree in Pembrey Forest. When I had a look at the spores they were every bit as pretty as the fungus itself.

The spores are only about 10 thousandths of a mm wide.