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)