Fungi

The start to the fungus season has been a good one. Many fungi are emerging in lots of locations.

Blusher (Amanita rubescens)

Colin Booker and I took a walk at Walton Colliery Country Park and started finding many fungi as soon as we set out. Amongst lots of earthballs beneath some birches, we found a number of blushers.

Russulas

There were also dozens of Russulas beneath trees. They are difficult to identify but I think the commonest, shown on the left of this image, was the grass-green Russula (R aeruginea). The yellow one was probably the ochre brittlegill (R ochroleuca). The red one defied my attempts to identify it.

Woolly Milkcap (Lactarius torminosus)

We located a single woolly milkcap and a couple of boletes.

Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle)

This single orange birch bolete (Leccinum versipelles) was growing beneath silver birches, as would be expected.

Peppery Bolete (Chalciporus piperatus)

We also found this peppery bolete (Chalciporus piperatus), with it’s quite distinctive shiny cap. It gets its name because of its peppery taste. Having said this, never eat any fungus as a result of any identification that I make on this site, or any other!

Hypomyces chrysospermus

A day or two later, this evening, I was walking at Ackworth when I spotted a vivid yellow in the grass. I found that this was covering what looked like a dehydrated mushroom.

Hypomyces chrysospermus

Having seen a lot of boletes this week, it was interesting to find that the colour was caused by a fungus – Hypomyces chrysospermus – that specialises in feeding on boletes. First they turn white and then a bright yellow colour.

Fungal Finds

During a walk at Fitzwilliam Country Park, I came across some common puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum). They were just pushing up through the moss and I thought they looked very striking.

Lycoperdon perlatum

There were quite a few Russulas growing beneath silver birches and young oaks. I identified one of these as green Russula (Russula aeruginea).

Russula aeruginea

At Ackworth, I found a clump of fungi which seemed to be a species of Agaricus. For these, I needed the help of the experts at the British Mycological Society. Agaricus bohusii was suggested initially but Geoffrey Kibby, who has published a number of authoritative guides to fungi, suggested that this fungus was a particularly scaly example of Agaricus subperonatus.

Agaricus subperonatus

Agaricus subperonatus isn’t a common species, so this was an interesting find.

 

Wrinkled Fieldcap

I was walking by the River Calder, near the Hepworth Gallery, when I spotted a mass of fungi on a pile of woodchips.

Wrinkled Fieldcap (Agrocybe rivulosa)

I did my best to identify them using books but again needed the help of the British Mycological Society and I found that they are Agrocybe rivulosa.

Wrinkled Fieldcap (Agrocybe rivulosa)

This species arrived in the UK just over a decade ago and has probably been encouraged to spread by the increasing use of bark and woodchip mulches. It is now common and widespread in Britain.

Wrinkled Fieldcap (Agrocybe rivulosa)

A common name used for this species is wrinkled fieldcap.

Morels at Stanley

It’s the time of year for morel mushrooms to appear but they can be hard to find. They are significantly less common in the north-east of England than in some southern counties and they are more numerous in some years than others. It was pleasing, therefore, to hear a report of some interesting mushrooms appearing amongst some bark mulch in the garden of a house at Stanley.

Common and Back Morels

When a couple of us investigated, we found two species emerging from amongst the wood chips. We saw several black morels, which we decided were Morchella elata, but we have since been informed that this name is out of date and they should now be called Morchella importuna. One of the morels was different from the others and we decided that this was the true or common morel, M esculenta, but the best information that we have at the moment is that this is of the same species as the others. I understand that the exact number of species of morel has not been agreed by all and the relationships between the different morels are being studied using DNA analysis. Colour can’t be relied upon for identification.

Black Morel

Morels are sought after by mushroom enthusiasts because they are considered to be delicacies. They are picked in many countries and they are often dried and stored to be eaten later. Having said this, there are some very toxic lookalikes and you must be warned against trying to identify any edible fungi by using information from an article such as this. Always get an expert to identify anything that you intend to eat.

Spring Fungus Search

Spring isn’t the obvious time for searching for fungi but I gave it a try today. My first significant find was a white growth on the side of a silver birch stump in Seckar Wood. It looked like a blob of foam that was creeping down the stump and it felt soft, similar to a marshmallow.

False puffball (Enteridium lycoperdon)

Again, some knowledgeable members of the British Mycological Society Facebook Group helped me out. They tell me that it is a slime mould and is probably Enteridium lycoperdon. This species is also known as the false puffball but I should say that slime moulds aren’t classed as fungi.

In the woods over at Newmillerdam, I found an attractive group of orange-brown fungi.

Velvet Shank (Flammulina velutipes)

I think this is an old clump of velvet shank. This is a species that normally appears late in the year and can be seen from late autumn through to spring.

 

Bleach Cup

Continuing my mission to improve my knowledge of fungi, I have been searching for spring fungi. I had a look in an old orchard, which some books say are potential sites for morels, and I found this large brown fungus growing beneath the trees.

Bleach Cup (Disciotis venosa)

It’s colour made it quite well camouflaged against dried-up leaves.

Bleach Cup (Disciotis venosa)

I believe that this is bleach cup, which gets its name from the smell of chlorine that is produced when it is rubbed or broken. This fungus is one of the Ascomycetes and it is quite closely related to the morels but there are conflicting opinions about whether it is edible.

Willow Bracket

Next to Hemsworth Water Park there is some very marshy woodland, in which there is a particularly fine display of marsh marigolds every spring. That’s something to watch out for in the coming weeks.

Willow bracket (Phellinus igniarius)

There are some large crack willows in the wood, in varying stages of growth and decay. Yesterday, I spotted a fine bracket fungus on the side of one of the trees. After a bit of research, I identified it as willow bracket (Phellinus igniarius). There is some interesting information available on the internet describing how the ash of this fungus was chewed with coca leaves or tobacco by the aboriginal people of North and South America. The ash enhanced the effect of the other substances because of its high pH value. Pictures are available of the containers that they used for storing the ash.

Willow bracket (Phellinus igniarius)

As with some of my earlier fungus finds, the knowledgeable people of the British Mycological Society group on Facebook confirmed the identification that I made for this species.

Clustered Bonnet

I’m chipping away at the fungi as I try to develop some identification skills to take me beyond the easily identified common and conspicuously marked species.

Mycena inclinata

Mycena inclinata

During a walk at Howell wood, South Kirkby today, I spotted a clump of fungi on a decaying tree-stump. One of the problems with fungi is that they change form and colour as they age and these were well into middle age.

Mycena inclinata

Mycena inclinata

As is so often the case, I struggled to narrow the name down to the nearest genus, even though I was using four different guides. However, my new best friend, the British Mycological Society Facebook group, came to the rescue and it took just a few minutes to identify the fungi as clustered bonnet (Mycena inclinata). This is a very common species and three of my field guides carry a picture of it. The problem is that the pictures all look so different from each other.

Silverleaf Fungus

At Ackworth School, the pupils in the junior school enjoy their “Forest Schools” sessions in a small area of woodland within the school grounds. The gardeners have created a ring of seats for them by embedding sections of log into the ground.

Infected log

Infected log

This morning, I noticed a colourful a colourful fungus growing on some of the logs.  Trawling through my expensive books on fungi did not produce an identification but a post on Facebook drew a suggested ID within minutes.

Silverleaf Fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum)

Silverleaf Fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum)

The suggestion, which looks good, is that the fungus is silverleaf fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum). I’ve heard the name before because of the disease – silver leaf – that it causes on cherry trees. One or two ornamental cherry trees growing in the school grounds have died recently, so it is possible that the logs are from those trees.

Silverleaf fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum)

Silverleaf fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum)