Silky Rosegill

In these continuing dry conditions, there are still relatively few fungi around but it is still worth spending some time searching.

Volvariella bombycina

A week ago, I spotted a large and conspicuous white fungus on a tree-stump at Nostell Priory. On closer examination, I found it to be Volvariella bombycina, which goes by the common name of silky rosegill. This is an uncommon species, so it was pleasing to find it growing in our area.

Volvariella bpmbycina

The scientific name of this species refers to the bag-like volva from which the fungus emerges. The remnats of this can be seen at the base of the stem. The common name refers to the texture of the cap.

An Interesting Start to the Fungus Season

The very dry conditions created by this summer’s hot weather don’t give much promise for a strong start to the fungus season. However, two of us went out to search several local sites last week in the hope of finding one or two species on trees, for which moisture would not be the problem that it is for those species that grow on the gound.

Pluteus aurantiorugosus

We were searching a pile of rotting timber, on which there is usually something to be found, when we spotted some bright orange caps beneath a covering of dried grass. The mushrooms were growing on a well rotted sycamore stump.

Pluteus aurantiorugosus

There aren’t many mushrooms that are such a bright orange colour and this one took a little while to identify. The splitting of the cap, caused by the dry conditions, almost led us in the wrong direction but the mushroom was found to be Pluteus aurantiorugosus.

Pluteus aurantiorugosus

This species is not common and the CATE databse, operated by the Fungus Conservation Trust, contains no previous records for Yorkshire.


Winter fungi

We are well into the winter but there are still some interesting fungi to be found.

Common candlesnuff (Xylaria hypoxylon)

Common candlesnuff is easy to spot on decaying treestumps and smaller pieces of dead wood. However, if you want more of a challenge, you can watch out for beechmast candlesnuff, which grows only on the seed cases of beech trees.

Beechmast candlesnuff (Xylaria carpophila)

To find beechmast candlesnuff, you may have to turn over the fallen leaves to get to the beechmast that is in the correct, damp condition for the fungus.

Another common winter fungus is velvet shank.

Velvet shank (Flammulina velutipes)

This fungus has a slimy cap and is often seen sprouting from logs.

A much less common fungus that appears about now is scarlet elfcup.

Scarlet elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca)

To find scarlet elfcup, look for mossy logs or smaller pieces of decaying wood on mossy ground.

Scarlet elfcup Sarcoscypha austriaca)

If you are lucky enough to find a red, cup-shaped fungus, you can’t be certain about the id without using a microscope because scarlet elfcup is almost identical to ruby elfcup. One feature used to tell the two apart is the microscopic hair on the underside of the cup. For scarlet elfcup this hair is twisted and tangled but it is straighter for ruby elfcup.

Microscopic hairs on scarlet elfcup

This microscope image shows the hairs on one of the specimens in one of the images above.

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.

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.


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.

Newmillerdam Fungi

Please note that all names given to fungi in this post are merely suggestions!

I took a walk in the woods at Newmillerdam yesterday and made further efforts to identify a few fungi. My first sighting was of an attractive white fungus growing on the end of a log.

Ossicaulis lignatilis

Ossicaulis lignatilis

I’ve struggled to get an ID for this one and I’ve narrowed it down to Ossicaulis lignatilis or Panellus mitis. Panellus seems to prefer twigs, so I’m going with Ossicaulis for the moment.

The next fungus that I saw was the artist’s bracket (Ganoderma applanatum).

Artist's Bracket

Artist’s Bracket

The name doesn’t have an obvious meaning until you find that scraping the white pores on the underside of the bracket leaves a brown mark. In other words, you can draw a picture and this will remain for a long time. These fungi drop a lot of rust-coloured spores.

There were many yellow-capped fungi with white gills and stems.


I believe that these were probably the common yellow russula (Russula ochroleuca).

I also spotted a fungus which had a red cap and stem but distinctive yellow gills.

Plums and Custard

Plums and Custard

I have decided that this is plums and custard (Tricholomopsis rutilans).

Towards the end of the walk, I found clumps of a fungus which had a fairly distinctive appearance.

Redleg Toughshank

Redleg Toughshank

My best estimate for this one is that it is redleg toughshank (Collybia erythropus). The only thing which makes me doubt this identification is the obvious funnel shape to the caps.

I saw many other fungi, some of which seemed to be quite distinctive at the time, but it is going to take a while for me to beging to work out what they might be. I spotted two boletus, one with yellow pores which didn’t bruise and one with yellow pores which bruised blue, but I can’t be confident about names for them. The one which didn’t bruise had a particularly dark cap.