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June’s Monthly Mushroom: Deer Shield mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)

June’s Monthly Mushroom: Deer Shield mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)

by Jasper Sharp ~ 14 June, 2019 ~ comments welcome

After last month’s epic two-parter on the Elder Whitewash fungus, I’m reining in my focus to something more traditionally mushroom-looking this month.     The recent combination of generally warmer temperatures coupled with the odd cooling cloudburst and resulting humidity has prompted the appearance of a number of mushroom sproutings in recent weeks, and one of my recent sightings has been the Deer Shield Mushroom (Pluteus Cervinus), which Roger Phillips’ Mushrooms and other Fungi of Great Britain & Europe says can be found from “early summer to late autumn, but also sporadically throughout the year.” I found specimens of this elegant looking species from October to mid-December last year and early May this year, so they are pretty prevalent throughout the seasons. Read more...

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

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

by Jasper Sharp ~ 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 Sharp ~ 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...

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

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

by Jasper Sharp ~ 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...

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

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

by Jasper Sharp ~ 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...

Monthly Mushroom: Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

Monthly Mushroom: Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

by Jasper Sharp ~ 17 September, 2018 ~ one comment

One can understand why amateur mycology might seem like an unrewarding and slightly odd pastime to the outside observer. There are many who might consider squatting amongst the leaf litter with guidebook in hand, trying to pinpoint whether the flush of slimy brown-yellow toadstools sprouting from a rotting log or tree stump could be Hypholoma fasciculare, Hypholoma capnoides or maybe even Kuehneromyces mutabilis, an ultimately pointless endeavour. Few would deem being able to distinguish Dead Moll’s Fingers from Dead Man’s Fingers or a Leopard Earthball from a Common Earthball  among the most vital of life skills.  Read more...

Monthly Mushroom: The Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)

Monthly Mushroom: The Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)

by Jasper Sharp ~ 17 August, 2018 ~ comments welcome

Parasols should be popping up all across the UK at the moment. Paul Stamets in Mycelium Running calls them “one of the most majestic of all edible mushrooms.” The second part of the Latin name Macrolepiota procera literally means lofty, upraised or extended to a great height, and they are certainly hard to miss on late-Summer and Autumn forays. 

The Parasol mushroom starts out looking something like a drumstick, before the initially egg-shaped cap opens up to a maximum size of around a foot across (typically between 10-30cm) when fully grown. Read more...

Common Earthball_Scleroderma citrinum_2

The Monthly Mushroom: Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum)

by Jasper Sharp ~ 31 July, 2018 ~ comments welcome

We’ve had an exceptional Summer of scorched soils, withered leaves and parched lawns so far this year, so July’s Monthly Mushroom almost slipped by the wayside while I awaited a shift to atmospheric conditions slightly more conducive to a fresh seasonal flush. However, this choice specimen should be emerging just around now and should be with us until the end of the year.

They are the same shape and size of many of the puffball examples listed in the last Monthly Mushroom post, but few amongst even the most passionate woodland wanderers tend to get too fired up by the sight of an Earthball. Read more...

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