Saturday, 6 February 2016

Hypoxylon howeanum

A woodwart

The Hazel and Beech Woodwarts (Hypoxylon fragiforme & H. fuscum)  are two of the species which are present in the wood pretty much all year round, and I don't generally pay them much attention. 
However there is also a little Woodwart, which is generally found on Alder, which is one of the Lost & Found species. So when Emily spotted these growing on Hawthorn it seemed worth a second look. The key diagnostic test for these is that they should turn purple in the presence of KOH. Taking a specimen home. these turned orange in the presence of KOH, so not the "rare one".
That left two options, the common H. fragiforme or H. howeanum.The clue is in the spores, looking at Roy Anderson's paper on the subject, spores of H. fragiforme should be 11 - 13.5μm long, whilst H. howeanum should be 7 - 9μm. Under the microscope these came out between 7.8 - 8.8μm, so definitely H.howeanum.
As far as I can tell this is only the second time the species has been found in Wales (David Harries' group in Pembs recorded it a few years ago).
So a nice find from something which it would have been easy to dismiss.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Geastrum rufescens

The Rosy Earthstar

Only yesterday I had emailed Philip bemoaning the fact that despite the relentless rain there was very little of interest around on the Fungi Front!
Then today I ventured into an area of the wood I don't regularly visit (as it is not the most accessible) and came across a patch of these Earthstars. 
My first impression was that they were going to be the Collared Earthstar, but, as is clear in the photo they lacked the collar which gives the species it's name.
Several books later, along with a session on the microscope, they had narrowed down to one of two species - Geastrum fimbriatum and Geastrum rufescens. Unfortunately, Buczacki and Michael Jordans' respective books vary as to the size that they give for the spores (mine fell between the two!). However in both instances the spores were significantly larger for G. rufescens than G. fimbriatum. This along with the fact that G.rufescens is several centimetres larger overall means I'm happy therefore (?) to plump for G.rufescens - The Rosy Earthstar.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Fungus Key

There are many Fungus "keys" around to help identify both fungus groups and species. Roger Phillips has a straightforward example which we have added to our "resources" section which may be of use.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Another Jelly Fungus

Ascotremella faginea (no common name).

Most of the Jelly Fungi, like the Exidia species which Philip posted at the beginning of the week (as well as the common Tremella's such as Yellow Brain Fungus), carry their spores on Basidia - hence are members of the Basidiomycota.
However there are also a few Ascomycete Jelly Fungus such as this one, and the more common Purple Jelly Ascocoryne.
I have to confess this one led me a merry dance before I finally managed to work out what it was. Not least because it doesn't appear in most of the literature, including my copy of Dennis. The only reference to it appears in B&K's Fungi of Switzerland where it is described as a "rare species". If my experience is anything to go by, I would suggest "seldom recorded" is probably a better description.
It was growing on an old habitat pile which is mainly comprised of Oak, a fact which served to add to my confusion. On closer inspection I suspect that the log was a   Sycamore, which fits with some of the records on FRDBI.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Exidia recisa - Amber Jelly and Exidia nucleata - Crystal Brain.

 Winter is the time for 'jelly-fungi', particularly when we have had lots of lovely rain!
I find the best place to look for Exidia recisa, Amber Jelly, is on small branches of Willow at about head height.

 After much rain these fruiting-bodies get so waterlogged that they become translucent and droop, forming very odd shapes.  With dry weather they form a thin dark crust on the twig to swell out again after rain.
This is another jelly-fungus, Exidia nucleata, Crystal Brain which can be found on the wood of many broadleaf species --- this was on Sycamore.  It is often more translucent than this but a small white 'crystal' can just be seen on the right of the lower 'blob'.  the 'crystal' is made of calcium oxalate.  A rather similar exidia speciesis E thuretiana, White Brain, but this is white and more opaque.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Sarcoscypha sp.

Scarlet or Ruby Elfcup

These have never failed to appear in my wood each year. However, I have never come across them in December, so quite early this year probably as a result of the warmer weather and relentless rain!
They always seem to favour fallen branches of either Hazel, or in this case Oak, and always growing out of Moss.
Of the two species, Sarcoscypha austriaca is now thought to be the commoner of the two.
However under the microscope these lacked the coiled surface hairs so are Sarcoscypha coccinea - The Ruby Elfcup.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Peziza repanda + Geoglossum cookeianum

 It is nice to find fungi throught the year ---- so the end of December is a bonus.  This cup fungus in a tractor track, Pembrey forest was 60mm across, pale brown and rather thin.  After microscopy it keyed out to P repanda.  The only problem is the asci did not 'blue' with iodine --- the likely reason being my chemicals are too old.  Must order fresh stock.

This Geoglossum was all over the dune grassland a month ago ---- just one seen today.