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May’s Monthly Mushroom: Elder Whitewash (Hyphodontia sambuci) - Part 2.

May’s Monthly Mushroom: Elder Whitewash (Hyphodontia sambuci) – Part 2.

by Jasper ~ 15 May, 2019 ~ comments welcome

In the last post [see related posts to the side], I broadly introduced the Elder Whitewash as an example of a resupinate crust fungus that is typically found growing on elder.    At first glance, this particular species might not seem the most obvious candidate from these regular Monthly Mushroom posts to be split into a one-off two-part focus, save for the fact that is so regularly seen yet little remarked upon.

No doubt we’ve all seen it and probably passed it by. Hugill and Lucas in The Resupinates of Hampshire (2019 edition)  describe it as “surface rough, waxy when fresh, somewhat fissured when dry. Pure white to greyish white. Very common.” Michael Jordan in The Encyclopedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe writes of its “white, chalky fruiting body tightly attached to substrate, looking like matt emulsion paint or distemper… resupinate with irregular margin, the hymenial (upper) surface having a chalky consistency.” Read more...

May’s Monthly Mushroom: Elder Whitewash (Hyphodontia sambuci) pt 1

May’s Monthly Mushroom: Elder Whitewash (Hyphodontia sambuci) pt 1

by Jasper ~ 13 May, 2019 ~ comments welcome

They are among the first of our trees to burst into leaf, and any moment now they should be yielding up their perfumed blossoms for cordials, champagnes, fritters or whatever your fancy is. There are those, however, who believe our native Black Elder, Sambucus nigra, to be something of a mixed blessing, best confined to the hedgerow rather than the woodlands. Fast growing, spindly and brittle branched, they spring up in unsightly shrub-like tangles in those nitrogen-loaded hotspots left uncolonised by more majestic species. The featured image is the Elder Whitewash - a crust fungus regularly found on elder .

As John Lewis-Stempel poetically writes in The Wood: The Life and Times of Cockshutt Wood (2018), Read more...

April’s Monthly Mushroom : Coral Slime (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa)

April’s Monthly Mushroom : Coral Slime (Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa)

by Jasper ~ 4 April, 2019 ~ comments welcome

These monthly posts have endeavoured, as much as possible, to focus on a particular mushroom, toadstool or other fungal organism of interest that might be in season around the time they appear online. This means we have now reached a potentially tricky time of year. “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb”, as the saying goes.

A few weeks ago, when it was still cold and wet, I had considered looking at a number of jelly fungi that I was still finding oozing from damp stumps and fallen trunks, or maybe one of the brackets still hanging on from Winter. Then after the incongruously meekly-named Storm Kevin brought a hail of dead twigs and branches down to ground level for closer inspection, I thought about zooming in to meditate more fully on some of the resupinate crust fungi that I found attached to them. Read more...

March’s Monthly Mushroom: Frosty Bonnet (Mycena tenerrima)

March’s Monthly Mushroom: Frosty Bonnet (Mycena tenerrima)

by Jasper ~ 15 March, 2019 ~ comments welcome

There are not many signs of mushrooms about at the moment, as we transition to a time of emergent Spring greens and Monty Don back on telly. Resupinates  continue to flourish in the dank places beneath logs, while the remnants of certain brackets  persist on trunks and stumps. Nevertheless, aside from a few notable exceptions, like St. George’s Mushrooms or Morels, there won’t be many of the more obviously mushroom-shaped fungi around over the coming few months.

Read more...

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

February’s Monthly Mushroom: Clouded Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

by Jasper ~ 11 February, 2019 ~ comments welcome

The mushrooms, toadstools or fungi that attract the most attention tend to be the more colourful, exotic, rare, recognisable or tastiest types. The Clouded Funnel can lay claim to none of these virtues. They are as common as muck and, while at one point considered edible, are now seen as best avoided for the table.

Nevertheless, despite the prevalence of the species in both coniferous and broad-leafed woodland environments, this belle laide of the mushroom world does have its charms if you are prepared to look more closely. Read more...

December’s Monthly Mushroom: Curry Milkcap (Lactarius camphoratus)

December’s Monthly Mushroom: Curry Milkcap (Lactarius camphoratus)

by Jasper ~ 7 December, 2018 ~ comments welcome

We’re not far from the shortest day of the year now and the concurrent midwinter festive frolics that signal the arrival of Christmas. For the mushroom hunter, however, this brief period of peace and goodwill to all men also brings the slightly melancholic awareness that we are past the peak of the fungi season and it’s going to be comparatively slim pickings over the next eight or nine months.   Nevertheless, my own mycological meanderings received a bit of a boost recently with the discovery of a new site here in East Kent, a public park established on the site of the former Betteshanger colliery  situated midway between Sandwich and Deal.    This pioneering exercise in environmental sustainability makes for a great day out throughout the year no matter wherever your particular interest in the great outdoors might lie. Its 121 hectares are interwoven with cycle tracks to race around while affording some spectacular views of the surrounding area. Read more...

November’s Monthly Mushroom: Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

November’s Monthly Mushroom: Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

by Jasper ~ 8 November, 2018 ~ comments welcome

It is hard not to notice when you get close to a stinkhorn. You are most likely to catch a whiff of one long before you see it. If you find yourself lured to the source of this eye-watering odour, you will encounter a fungal form that is difficult to put out of one’s mind. These two equally offensive aspects combine to make it one of the most commonly found and identified fungi in the United Kingdom.

It shouldn’t be necessary to provide an exact English translation for the Common Stinkhorn’s  Latin name of Phallus impudicus, nor the derivation of the name Phallaceae that encapsulates the entire stinkhorn family. Those with a working knowledge of French will note its defining characteristics are contained in both its direct translation from the scientific binomial name, as ‘le phallus impudique’, and its more common sobriquet ‘le satyre puant’ (‘stinking satyr’). In Japan, it is the suppon-take (pronounced ‘soup-on takkay’) or ‘snapping-turtle mushroom’, referring to the soft-shelled fresh-water amphibian whose bobbing elongated neck has its own aphrodisiac associations in Asia. Read more...

Sulphur tuft

Monthly Mushroom: Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

by Jasper ~ 3 October, 2018 ~ one comment

Fifty shades of brown, these are the hues in which we tend to imagine our Autumns, but it struck me while wood-wandering one sunny day recently that we are still just within that transitional period of the year, around the equinox, when yellows and oranges stand out brighter than ever within the forest colour palette. As we ease into October, the woods are positively bursting with Ochre russulas (Russula ochroleuca), Honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) and Laughing Gyms (Gymnopilus junonius) and there is also still a good chance of crossing paths with the standout egg-yolk smears of Fuligo septica, or the Dog Vomit slime mould . Read more...

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