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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.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great find and good bit of detection work. Important to have literature as common field guides would not help. Sadly, I do not take enough notice of these 'bits' on twigs.