Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Great Burnet Rust

Last week when I was visiting Ynysdawela nature park near Brynamman I spotted this very bright rust on the back of a leaf of Great Burnet that was growing in the grasslands. I took a photo, which I sent to Nigel Stringer (who else of course!) and it turns out that it is a rust which goes by the name of Xenodochus carbonarius. It is an uncommon rust with 200 records for the UK, 80ish records for Wales and under 20 for Carmarthenshire. As Great burnet is out in all its glory at the moment then it might be worth keeping an eye out for it!


Thursday, 8 May 2014

To follow the witches 'eye of newt' we get 'toe of frog' --- at least the warts on these toes.  Another wood-rotting fungus of fresh water is Vibrissea truncorum.  This produces colourful fruitbodies on submerged wood which release long, filiform ascospores adapted for dispersal in moving water (Spooner and Roberts, Fungi, New Naturalist). 

                                              The oval yellow to orange coloured fertile head sits on a longish stalk.

The cap is inrolled around the stipe, as seen in the middle fb, which has black hairs --- although everything was clothed in algal slime.  These were found in a ditch at Dinas RSPB reserve while others were looking at Pied Flycatchers.

An even more spectacular species from streams and ditches is Bog Beacon, Mitrula palludosa.  This lives on decaying leaf litter and water plants (below) and these were found at Coed-y-Brenin Forestry Commission (as was) centre.  I have found this Close to Swiss Valley Reservoir and also in ditches in the Five Roads area
                                                                              Sorry that I fail to manipulate layout better!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Brian Spooner and Peter Roberts have a nice chapter about fungi in fresh water habitats in their New Naturalist book, Fungi.
This looks as if the Macbeth witches have been about --- 'Eye of newt and toe of frog' --- and was a puzzle to me at first.  A portion was sent to Peter Thompson who determined it as Pachyella babingtonia.  I have seen this species before but always more mature so completely reddish brown.  Each grows to about 10mm across but these were just about 3mm.  The critical facor is that it is found on waterlogged wood in wet situations, streams or ditches.

This was found at the end of March at Abergorlech in a boggy ditch by the side of a track.  I have previously found it in a stream near the Farriers Arms, Stradey, Llanelli.
I shall show two others ---- but as additional blogs



Thursday, 24 April 2014

There's a new programme about fungi on BBC4 is being broadcast on Thursday 24th April at 9pm.Presented by Professor Richard Fortey, you can see a 2 minute promo link about it here.

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