Earth Tongues and Other Interesting Fungi

One of the things that I have learnt in recent months is that a great place to look for interesting fungi in late autumn is amongst the moss in patches of grass which have not been pampered for many years.

Meadow Coral (Clavulinopsis corniculata)

Neglected lawns, the outfields of cricket grounds and the mossy grass amongst the graves in churchyards provide a great habitat for some interesting species. meadow coral is a common species but you have to look closely to find it.

Clavulinopsis species

You should also see the yellow tongues of other Clavulinopsis species. A microscope is needed to identify these positively at the species level.

Common Powdercap (Cystoderma amianthinum)

An interesting capped mushroom is the common powdercap. This species can be very small but it is attractive. It is also host to a rare mushroom called the powdercap strangler. You would be very lucky to find this but you should google it to learn more about it.

Geoglossum fallax

Earth tongues are always of interest to enthusiasts and they can turn up anywhere where there is mossy grass. The commonest is Geoglossum cookeanum, which I found by a main road in the centre of Ackworth, and the one which is next is G fallax, which I found in a north Leeds churchyard.

Geoglossum cookeanum

These two earth tongues have been positively identified by looking at their spores under a microscope.

Caterpillar Club Fungus Cordyceps militaris)

An exciting find for me recently was caterpillar club fungus, which I spotted in another churchyard in north Leeds. This fungus infects the larva of a moth, beetle or other insect which has pupated underground. The yellow arrow indicates the remains of the pupa. This fungus is cultivated in the far east, where it is used in traditional medicines.

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3 Responses to Earth Tongues and Other Interesting Fungi

  1. John Gardner says:

    Excellent content Francis. Some lovely fungi there most of which I’ve never seen!

  2. Eve says:

    Wow how similar is cordyceps militaris to cordyceps sinesis? I thought cordyceps only grows in the Himalayas?

    • Francis Hickenbottom says:

      Apologies for not spotting your comment sooner. This is the first time that I have seen Cordyceps militaris but I know that members of the Mid-Yorkshire Fungus Group have come across it several times this year. It is one of those species that is widespread but it is found only occasionally. I know that a Google search on Cordyceps brings up many references to the Himalayan species but I am not familiar with that species, though it is clear that the lifes-cycles are similar. So, it is worth watching out for Cordyceps in the UK.

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