I took myself off for a fungi foray around the woodland at Cardiff’s Heath Park today as it’s usually a good place to find a wide variety of fungi. And, rather than post colour photos of my finds, I thought I’d convert them all to black and white as that shows, I think, the fungal world’s amazing diversity of shapes and textures.
Discos seem appropriate for a Friday night or, rather, they would have in the 1960s and ’70s. But my discos don’t involve a multi-colour dance floor or a flashing-ball light or John Travolta-style dancing – my discos are fungi. Getting down and dirty in Cogan Wood earlier this week, selectively picking up small logs of rotting wood for inspection, I found two of these little beauties.
Snowy disco (Lachnum virgineum)
Lemon disco (Bisporella citrina)
Disclaimer: Fungi are notoriously difficult to identify and one thing I’ve learnt from dipping my toes into the mycological world is that one should always confirm one’s identification, especially of minute fungi like these, by microscopic examination. I have not done that so my IDs are not confirmed, just quite likely.
Cosmeston was relatively quiet yesterday. A few Redwings flashed their rusty flanks at me, indignant that I had interrupted their grazing in the west paddock, and a pair of Mistle thrushes screeched their football-rattle call from the tree tops as the Redwings flew up to join them. Carrion crows and Grey squirrels hovered on the periphery, watching as I fed seed to a posse of passerines in Cogan Wood, but the hoped-for Marsh tit did not appear. So, I abandoned the birds, headed up and along the muddy woodland tracks where few people venture, eyes down and searching for fungi. Within minutes, my hand was scratched from reaching too carelessly through brambles, my fingers were filthy from picking up rotting wood to examine more closely, my camera was speckled with dirt from being plonked on the ground for better close-ups, but my reward was this most wonderful slime mould. I don’t know its name but I am a huge admirer of these enigmatic organisms, and this one was a beauty!
Happy #FungiFriday! I actually found these little oysterling fungi a few weeks ago but forgot to share them at the time.
Crepidotus calolepis is a bit of a mouthful but these little beauties don’t have a common name. Here’s what fungi expert Pat O’Reilly says about its scientific name:
The generic name Crepidotus comes from crepid- meaning a base such as a shoe or a slipper (although some sources state that it means ‘cracked’), and otus, meaning an ear – hence it suggests a ‘slipper-like ear’. In the past mushrooms in this genus were sometimes referred to as slipper mushrooms. The specific epithet calolepis may come from the roots calo- meaning beautiful and lepis, meaning with scales.
O’Reilly is doubtful about the presence of Crepidotus calolepis in Britain, suggesting that the British records are, in fact, scaly forms of Crepidotus mollis, the Peeling oysterling, but my find was confirmed from photos by two other British experts so C. calolepis it is!
You can’t have a blog called Earthstar without occasionally having a post about an Earthstar, so here it is.
Though I searched for these amazing little fungi at a known location in Cathays Cemetery a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t find any. So, I was delighted when a birding acquaintance showed me this solitary Earthstar at a completely new location earlier this week.
This is Geastrum triplex, a Collared earthstar. I’ve previously only found them under conifers but the experts say they are most often found, like this one, under hardwood trees.
I gave its sac a poke to show my friend how the spores are released – let’s hope that also helped to spread the spores so we see more of these little stunners in future.
During a wander around Cardiff’s Cathays Cemetery last Friday, I found my first Earpick fungi (Auriscalpium vulgare).
Now, you might think Earpick is a very odd name for a fungus – you certainly wouldn’t want to use them to clean your ears out! – but it’s actually quite logical. Auriscalpium is a combination of the Latin words auris, meaning ear, and scalpare, the verb ‘to scratch’. The stem of the fungus certainly does look quite scratchy, as does the underside of the cap, with its mass of tiny cone-shaped rods. And it’s those rods that are the connection to the word ‘ear’ in the fungi’s name – have you ever seen a magnified photo of the sensory hair cells of the human inner ear?
Vulgare just means common, though this fungus is certainly not that – when I checked the biological database for Wales, I found only 10 previous recorded sightings.
These fungi were growing at the base of a conifer but I didn’t realise until I started reading up about them when I got home that the fungi nearly always grow on the rotting cones of pines and other conifers. I didn’t notice any cones but they must have been there, under the moss and grass. Fascinating!
Here’s a fungus I can actually identify! This is the Butter cap, a name that’s so much easier to say than its scientific name Rhodocollybia butyracea.
Thanks to the most excellent First Nature website, I can tell you that Rhodocollybia is from rhodo, meaning ‘pink’ (a reference to the pinkish tinge of the mushroom’s gills), and collybia means ‘small coin’, while the epithet butyracea means ‘buttery’ (but not in taste – it’s a reference to the greasiness of the cap).
This tree may be dead but it’s teeming with life.
I’m sure it’s chock full of a huge variety of bugs and beetles, slugs and centipedes, and many other mini-beasties, but what caught my eye was the number of different types of fungi it was supporting.
As well as several species of gilled mushrooms, there were also various intriguing brackets, some oozing golden droplets, and a wonderfully vibrant orange Lycogala species of slime mould. Fungi may often be difficult to identify but they never cease to amaze me.