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Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Some more bonfire fungi from Pembrey Forest.

 A few more visitors to the burnt out area of Pembrey Forest. It really has been an interesting place this year and hopefully will be for a few more years to come!


Ischnoderma benzoinum, the Benzoin Bracket

Firstly a layered bracket fungus growing on a burnt out Pine stump. The photo taken on site was in harsh sunlight and did not show the zoning marks in various shades of brown on the cap surface. The underside was white with small pores that turned brown on handling. The spores were  sausage-shaped and measured ~5.5 x 2.4 um. Looking through "Fungi of Switzerland" a very good fit would be Ischnoderma benzoinum, the Benzoin Bracket. Not very rare but under-recorded in Wales with only a couple of records.


Ischnoderma benzoinum, the Benzoin Bracket and spores.

Peziza petersii

 The second visitor is a Peziza species.A handy characteristic of Peziza species is that the tips of the asci turn blue with Melzer's Reagent, which easily shows up in the microscope images. In this specimen the spores are quite characteristic, being small and wart. Referring to Peter Thompson's book "Ascomycetes in Colour" the only one with these characteristics is Peziza petersii. This species also has a strong preference for burnt ground so I feel OK with calling it that. But, as always, please comment. 




Peziza petersii and microscopy details.

Another visitor was an eyelash fungi. Hard to notice at first but once you see them, they were everywhere on the burnt ground. Here, from the shape of the spores, Peter Thompson's book gives 2 alternatives Anthracobia macrocystis and A. melaloma.  Both it seems are found on burnt ground in coniferous woodland. However A. macrocystis is very much smaller at ~ 3mmin diameter whereas the specimen found was ~5-6 mm, more the size of A. melaloma, and so more likely to be the one here in Pembrey.


Anthracobia melalomaAnthracobia melaloma, spores
Anthracobia melaloma, fruit body and microscopy details.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

A Visit to Bishop's Palace, Carmarthen.



Not a large area but has been recently upgraded with some nice paths etc. Often felt though a lot more could be done with the ponds thereabouts. Plenty of Beeches and Ash cut down over the years so lots of tree trunks lying about. Plenty of parking and very near to main Carmarthen to Llandeilo road.

Common Stump Brittlestem, Psathyrella piluliformis.
Common Stump Brittlestem, Psathyrella piluliformis.


There were also Conical Brittlestem, Parasola conopilus.  I thought perhaps a few different mushrooms there but on checking with First-nature, it would appear they are all growth stages of the same species.


Coral spot Fungus, Nectria cinnabarina.
Coral spot Fungus, Nectria cinnabarina.

White brain and Leafy Brain Fungus.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Amanita muscaria on LLanllywni Mountain.


Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric).

 There is a small area on Llanllywni mountain that always gives a good display of Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric). It is at the edge of a conifer plantation. The first photo was from last year when I visited around the middle of October. Left it a bit late going this year and it looked as if the best display was over - had to balance a few caps on their stems to get pictures. 

Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric)
Also nearby was a forestry wood-chip pile containing a crowd of these brown mushrooms. I assumed that Google would give a pretty easy identity and so didn't spend too much time as it was on the side of the road.  I wished now I had a checked the roots and taken a couple more to sample, as I still have no real idea. I assume an Agrocybe species of some sort but any ideas??

A fire in Pembrey Forest!

 Last summer a small area of Pembrey Forest caught fire reducing many of the Corsican Pine trees to charred stumps. Though a tragedy for most of the forest wildlife it was a boost for Fungi as they have sprung up everywhere - some of the species having been rarely recorded in Wales.  

Daldinia fissa and spores.
Supposedly relatively  common on burnt gorse but I haven't seen it before. I made the mistake of leaving a couple of fruit-bodies on my desk and the next morning everything was black! 

Also growing on the burnt gorse was Schizophyllum commune (Split Gill Fungus). This is a real survivor as it can be found growing on those big black haylage rolls in farmer's fields, on beech logs in Waun Las and on burnt Gorse in Pembrey Forest. The Cockroach of the fungus world. Perhaps in the weeks after Armageddon when the smoke and the dust begins to clear, there will be S. commune making a living off the charred and twisted remains of Carmarthenshire's ancient woodland!

With free gills and pink spores, this had Pluteus cervinus (Deer Shield) written all over it but later it was noticed that the gill edges were definitely black. It turns out that this was Pluteus atromarginatus (Black edge Shield) -which favours burnt conifer wood - and this was later confimed by the presence of  "horns" on the cystidia. Although not rare it has very few Welsh records.

Pluteus atromarginatus (Black edge Shield)     Pluteus atromarginatus (Black edge Shield)

Pluteus atromarginatus (Black edge Shield)Pluteus atromarginatus (Black edge Shield)

Sharing the same bed as Pluteus atromarginatus, was Gymnopilus junonius (Splendid rustgill) and plenty of it. By all accounts it is not a lover of conifer wood but it looks so distinctive that I am sure that this is what it was - although would be happy to be corrected.

 Gymnopilus junonius (Splendid rustgill) on burnt conifer wood. Gymnopilus junonius (Splendid rustgill) on burnt conifer wood



 Another visitor to our charcoal ghost forest was the Bonfire Scalycap, Pholiota highlandensis, identified on Facebook by Geoffrey Kibby. This again is a species with very few Welsh records and will be another welcome addition to our end of year list. I was surprised that this was a Pholiota, as they have the common name Scalycaps, whereas as we can see from the photo alongside - these mushrooms look more like the Mitchell brothers. Having seen a few "true" Scalycaps I think there would be no contest in a beauty competition.

Not technically a fungus, indeed not even a fungus at all this Woolf's milk slime mould also came along to enjoy the party.  What made it interesting however was that the individual fruit bodies don't usually grow this large or indeed overall to be so prolific - perhaps all the free food. There are a couple of types of these Woolf's milk slime moulds but the spores and their pinkish brown colour identify this as Lycogala terrestre - the more common one!

 Lycogala terrestre  spores. 

                Woolf's milk slime mould Lycogala terrestre  and spores.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Perhaps Agaricus menieri - though perhaps not!

 Last week I came across a small group of Agarics growing on the sand dunes at North Dock. (how on earth can they find anything to eat?). On the Fungus UK site, Geoffrey Kibby, kindly suggested that they were very probably A. xanthodermus (Yellow Stainer) but interestingly added that because of the minimal ring and spore size there is a possibility of it being A. menieri, a species reputed to be in the UK but as yet unconfirmed. Think I'll keep the dried cap just in case!


Agaricus xanthodermus (Yellow Stainer), spores.

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Swiss Valley Reservoir,

Grey Knight, Tricholoma terreum.
Grey Knight, Tricholoma terreum.



Growing the in mixed woodland around the reservoir, possibly Grey Knight, Tricholoma terreum.






Grey Knight, Tricholoma terreum. Grey Knight, Tricholoma terreum, spores


Wrinkled Fieldcap, Agrocybe rivulosa
Wrinkled Fieldcap, Agrocybe rivulosa




Wrinkled Fielcap growing on a woodchip pile. The mycelium seems to take over the woodchip mound.




Wrinkled Fieldcap and spores 

Sulphur Tuft,  Hypholoma fusiculare and spores