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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...

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...

Monthly Mushroom: Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

Monthly Mushroom: Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus)

by Jasper ~ 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 ~ 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 ~ 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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