Monday, 14 April 2014

The latest asco find was made by pure chance in a car park at Pembrey Country Park.  After my morning dog walk I bent to unhook the dog-lead and noticed a 'blob' in the grass close to the dog.  With dog safely in back of car, I investigated by pulling away portions of grass and moss to reveal a nice fungus.  I had a good look around but this seemed the only specimen so left it in place, just taking photos.                                                      

As I had not taken any material, I could not do microscopy but attempted to find a name by looking at various books.  It was probably a Helvella species but nothing like it in Dennis 'British Ascomycetes'.  In the new 'Ascomycetes in Colour' by  Peter Thompson there were some possibilities but nothing seemed to fit. One possibility however was his Helvella queletii, No 14 of his book, and looking at images on the 'web' this seems to be correct. This is quite a rare species with just twenty records for GB and Ireland, with one collection made by Maurice Rotheroe in May 1996 from Whitford.  I America it seems to have been given some 'common names' such as Devil's Urn and Ribbed Elfin Saucer!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spring is a splendid time to look for Ascomycetes (Cup Fungi) and I seem to have been fortunate this year. 
Morels are always good to find.  These were in one of the cattle enclosures on Pembrey saltings.  I have found these in the same area in previous years.  The difficlulty is in giving it a name as many do not have very distinctive features and microscopy does not help as spores are very similar in shape and size.  Peter Thompson published a book, 'Ascomycetes In Colour', last year and continues to add to the 700 species he had illustrated.  I asked Peter about this species and we agreed it would fit Morchella vulgaris rather than M.esculenta which is more of a honey-yellow colour and with larger 'crypts'.  In the past I have collected M. esculenta from a few locations in Pembrey forest, generally on the grassy, sandy banks around small ponds that have been created.  These seem to be present for a few years then vanish.      

Monday, 7 April 2014

I found this on the branch of a wind blown oak last weekend and I can't find it in my fungi books. It's probably very straightforward but if anyone could help that would be great! Thanks Isabel

Friday, 28 March 2014

Glamorgan Fungus Group Newsletter

Check out the new Glamorgan Fungus newsletter in our links section.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Slime Mould (Reticularia lycoperdon)

Walking through Troserch Woods yesterday I came across this very odd species which looked exactly like the expanding foam used in cavity wall insulation oozing from the bark of a very old and dead tree, alongside the Morlais River.

Thanks to the Fungi section of BirdForum website, I now know that this is Slime Mould Reticularia lycoperdon previously classified as Enteridium lycoperdon. Slime Moulds are a strange class of amoeboid protozoa, previously thought to be fungi but now known to be Myxomycota, which are organisms which prey on microbial food webs. This particular species is a bacterial predator and usually very tiny and unlikely to be seen, but this particular stage of it’s life cycle is a fruiting body known as a sporangium. This is a globular formation which swells up to around 50-80mm (this was near to the top end of that scale), whereupon it hardens and then eventually splits to release brown mass of spores. Trichia, a member of the BirdForum community mentions that it usually likes to exit the wood via insect holes.

I’ll try to return and take a few more pictures as it matures, to see what happens.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

More Cup Fungi from Pembrey.

In one area of forest where harvesting of trees was carried out last year, 2013, (SN 394 013) there are several deep tractor tracks in which several fungi have been found.

Spore size/shape and type of paraphyses fits with Peziza repanda.  This species was collected from bare soil in tractor tracks at other locations in the forest in September 2013.

 At first glance these three Peziza ampliata (alongside and below) seem to have similar coloration to P repanda and P vesiculosa but there are differences in spore size and other microscopic features.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Cup Fungi in Pembrey

Several cup fungi (ascomycetes) have been found in Pembrey forest and Country Park during the past month (February 2014).   The first, Peziza vesiculosa seems to have several English names. Blistered Cup Fungus as the inner cup surface has blister-like swellings (as in second photo), Barnyard Cup as it is frequently found on dung or manure heaps or Fawn Cup describing it's colour although several other cup fungi have similar coloration.

Microscopy is needed to measure spores (smooth 22-24x11-12ยต) and view other micro features.

These Peziza vesiculosa were found on wood-chip in the camping/caravn area of the country Park (SN 405 010).