FUNGI ON GEOGRAPH and some notes about fungi

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright February 2020, M J Richardson; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

Until relatively recently fungi [one fungus, several fungi] were considered to be plants, but molecular studies have shown them to be a separate kingdom of living organisms, on a par with plants and animals. With bacteria and invertebrates they are the great recyclers, returning nutrients to the environment for reuse by new generations of life. Just as importantly, many form symbiotic [mycorrhizal] associations with the majority of species in the plant kingdom; without these associations plants would not exist as we know them. No fungi, no plants; no plants, no animals; no animals, NO US!
Fungi reproduce by spores, which germinate to produce a mycelium of hyphae – fine threads that grow through the habitat – which produced enzymes that digest organic matter, which is then absorbed and used by the fungus. In the case of the mycorrhizal fungi, the hyphae penetrate or surround the plant roots and there is an exchange of nutrients – minerals from the soil through the fungus to the plant, and carbohydrates from the plant, from photosynthesis, to the fungus.
Identification has always been difficult at the specific level, and names and classification are still changing. Because they have never been well known, there are very few common or English names – there has been a misguided attempt to provide such names for fungi, but they have not been universally adopted. Identification to species often requires close, sometimes microscopical, examination and it is not always possible to be certain of the species from photographs

Some fungi are very good to eat. Only eat those which you know to be safe to eat – some are edible, BUT ONLY ONCE!'

Some books:-
Mushrooms. P. Marren. 2012. British Wildlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9564902-3-0
Fungi. B. Spooner & P. Roberts. 2005. Collins. ISBN 00-00-220152-66
Collins Field Guide: Mushrooms & Toadstools. R. Courtecuisse & B. Duhem. 1995. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-00-22025-2
The Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and North-western Europe. M. Bon. 1987. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-39953-8

The pictures that follow illustrate the different types of fungi. Some lichens are also included - they are a symbiotic association of a fungus and an alga [each combination produces a different lichen], and slime moulds, which are not fungi but closely related to the animal kingdom. Particular thanks to Lairich Rig, whose contributions have added greatly and authoritatively to the collection.


Phylum Basidiomycota - Basidiomycetes


Mushrooms and toadstools, boletes, brackets, crusts etc., which produce their spores on the surface of gills, tubes, spines or simple plane surface of the fruit body - some examples
Gills SO6425 : Fungus gills by Pauline ESS8683 : A Crepidotus species of fungus by Alan Hughes Pores NJ0830 : Fungus by Anne BurgessNT5882 : Shaggy Bracket near Gleghornie by M J Richardson
Spines NX3055 : Hedgehog fungus by David Baird Smooth TR0062 : Fungus at Oare Gunpowder Works Country Park by pam fray

Mushrooms and toadstools:-

Some with pale spore prints:-
TM3893 : Shaggy Parasol mushrooms (Lepiota rhacodes) by Evelyn Simak
This common and edible mushroom can be found from July until the end of December, growing in mixed woodland and anywhere shady, particularly in the vicinity of conifers. This group was photographed on the bridleway > Link leading past Stockton Hall. It tends to grow in groups or rings but can also be found individually. Its colour is white but it will turn orange or red when bruised. Rhacodes apparently was a mis-spelling of the Greek "rhakos" or "rhacos", meaning "piece of cloth".
by Evelyn Simak

TQ4595 : Fabulous Fungus! by Glyn Baker
This is a Parasol mushroom Lepiota procera it “fruits” from July to October this one was on the edge of a field south of Loughton
by Glyn Baker

NT0776 : Wood Blewits by Greg Fitchett
There were several small groups of Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) in a small Spruce plantation at Craigton Quarry. This species shows purple on the cap and gills when young but becomes browner with age.
by Greg Fitchett

SM9737 : Field blewitts by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff
Blewits (the extra 't' is optional) come in two kinds: this one, Lepista saeva, grows on open grassland, often along field or road edges, while Lepista nuda, the wood blewit, grows under trees. They are very distinctive by reason of their purplish/lilac colouration when young (these specimens are quite pale) and also from the fact that they appear late in the year. They are good to eat, although they disagree with some people especially in conjunction with alcohol. They work well in casseroles and are popular on the continent.
by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff

TG3203 : Fairy Ring Mushrooms (Marasmius oreades) by Evelyn Simak
These edible mushrooms forming clusters and rings are common in late spring and early summer. The ring is produced because the mycelium of the young fungus spread out in all directions using the nutrients in the soil, leaving none in the middle. For this reason they are easy to spot, as the grass grows taller and greener in the centre of the ring. Some say that these are the best mushroom to dry.
by Evelyn Simak
Shared Description

J2458 : Fungus, Hillsborough (2012-2) by Albert Bridge
A small fungus, growing under conifers, in the north eastern side of the forest.
by Albert Bridge
Shared Description

This is Marasmius rotula
SE3315 : Honey Fungus or Bootlace Fungus by John Fielding
The fungus spread by means of long black cords called rhizomorphs which look like bootlaces. Underneath this mass of fungi is a tree stump.
by John Fielding

NS4473 : Rhizomorphs (thick fungal threads) of Armillaria species by Lairich Rig
These tough black threads are covering a piece of fallen wood; formerly, this "Honey Fungus" would have been identified as Armillaria mellea, but it is now known that the fungi that look rather like this belong to any of a number of quite distinct species. This particular example was photographed alongside the cycle path between Dumbarton and Bowling, where the path is confined between steep stone walls (the course of an old railway line); the photo was taken not far to the west of the tunnel shown in NS4473 : National Cycle Network Route 7.

Though we tend to notice the larger structures (mushrooms and brackets), a fungus largely consists of cottonwool-like threads (called hyphae) that spread inconspicuously through the ground, wood, or whatever the fungus is growing on. This photo shows a different kind of structure, rhizomorphs (Honey Fungus is also sometimes known as Bootlace Fungus; the picture shows why this is quite fitting). The rhizomorphs not only allow the fungus to physically spread, but they also serve as supply lines (in the following quotation, "basidiocarps" are mushrooms):

"Clumps of basidiocarps of Armillaria mellea, the honey fungus, are common on and around dead tree stumps in the autumn. The stump or the dead trunk and roots are the operational saprotrophic base for the parasite to act. Black, water-proof, root-like rhizomorphs grow out, ten metres or more, from the base until they make contact with the roots or trunk base of another living tree. These rhizomorphs are aggregates of several thousand hyphae. Specialized hyphae within conduct nutrients from the colonized food base to the new victim. These nutrients provide a massive resource to enable the fungus to overcome the physical and chemical barrier of the bark and become established within" [Ingold & Hudson, "The Biology of Fungi", p162-4].

After penetrating the bark of their new victim, the threads spread beneath the bark, eventually merging into a solid black mat that encircles the inner wood of the tree (in places where bark has fallen from a tree, this mat can sometimes be seen); the rhizomorphs then send out hyphae (much smaller threads) to degrade the wood of the tree. Armillaria mellea causes an intensive white rot, and is one of the most dangerous parasites of trees, causing the loss of a great deal of timber.
by Lairich Rig

NZ1265 : 'shroom with a view by Andrew Curtis
Another of the old sycamore trees between the waggonway and the river fell this March. They are all reaching a certain age NZ1365 : Walled-up tree, Tyne riverside.

This one had been dead for a while and its rotting trunk could no longer support its dense cover of ivy. The upper part of its dead branches was the home of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and in spring rang out with the drumming of a male seeking to attract a mate. The nest hole and sharp beak marks can still be seen but the fall was sudden and many of its fragile branches were broken to small fragments.

The fungus which no doubt helped destroy the wood from the inside has now burst into life with a huge array of grey-brown shell-like fungi erupting from the surface, encouraged by wet and seasonably mild conditions. I think it may be the Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) which if I was more confident would make a tasty wild mushroom dish. Life cycle in action. The woodpeckers though will need to look for a new home this coming spring.

There is another photo here: NZ1265 : 'shroom with a view (2)
by Andrew Curtis
Shared Description

TQ4123 : Close up  view of fly agaric at Sheffield Park by Adrian Diack
This photo shows a close up view of a cluster of fly agaric fungi (Amanita muscaria) growing in Birch Grove at Sheffield Park near Lower Woman's Way Pond.
by Adrian Diack

SU3306 : Amanita rubescens fungus in Denny Wood, New Forest by Jim Champion
The amanita rubescens fungus (also known as The Blusher) is edible - in fact it is described by my fungi guide as "one of the best culinary fungi". Many of its close relations are highly toxic, including the similar looking Amanita pantherina. Risk of incorrect identification is high, and it would probably be best to stick to the cautious principle of not consuming wild fungi with gills. This specimen was growing beneath a spreading beech tree.
by Jim Champion

SU2813 : Amanita citrina fungus in Bignell Wood, New Forest by Jim Champion
The Amanita citrina fungus (also known as False Death Cap) is extremely common in Bignell Wood at this time of year, mainly amongst the beech trees. They are quite distinctive with their light lemon-yellow sheen, and their common name comes from their similar appearance to the toxic Amanita phalloides "Death Cap" fungus.
by Jim Champion

SY9788 : Clouded funnel agaric, Arne by Marika Reinholds
I spotted this beautiful fungus on a grassy embankment alongside the road near the church at Arne. A nature website ID'd it for me as a clouded funnel agaric.
by Marika Reinholds

SP9408 : False Chanterelles (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) by Rob Farrow
These fine-looking fungi are so similar to true Chanterelles that even seasoned mushroom pickers could mistake them for the real thing. Fortunately, such a mistake will not be injurious to the health of the picker, as though not considered edible, they are not poisonous. The main differences between them and true Chanterelles is that this fungus - Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca - is darker orange (Chanterelles are yellow) and they have true gills many of which branch towards the rim, true Chanterelles have folds or ribs rather than gills - and they may form a kind of network rather like the underside of a young cabbage leaf near the wavy rim.
H. aurantiaca has a pleasant mushroomy smell, whereas the true chanterelle smells of apricots. Although the ones seen here had rather wavy perimeters (as true Chanterelles would have) many were more circular, which the true version rarely is.
They are said to be rather inedible, being stringy and tasteless; however, a friend of mine, advised by a seasoned fungi collector, picked a number of these (from this same location on the same day) believing them to be the true Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarus) - cooked them, ate them and said that they were "delicious". So either they can be tasty when young, or else they were after all true Chanterelles - but if so, they were particularly atypical. Having said all that, Chanterelles (aka girolles) that I have bought packaged in supermarkets, look very like this "false" fungus, being oranger and more circular-capped than Chanterelles are supposed to.
See SP9408 : Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca - False Chanterelles where the underside of one can be seen, in particular showing the orangeness of the gills.
by Rob Farrow

NT1136 : Porcelain fungus by M J Richardson
A frequent fungus [Oudemansiella mucida] on dead beech, often high up on the tree. It is quite striking, pure white, with a dark ring on the stem, and a slimy sticky cap.
by M J Richardson

NR8468 : "Waxcap" mushrooms, Tarbert golf course by sylvia duckworth
One of the Hygrocybe species, flourishing in the damp Autumn weather.
by sylvia duckworth

NN7822 : Wax Caps by Anne Burgess
These are one species or another of Wax Cap (Hygrocybe sp) but there are many species of Wax Cap and it would have required expert examination at the time to identify them with certainty. Thanks to Mike Richardson for advice on identification.
by Anne Burgess

NT3337 : Toadstools on a fallen tree by M J Richardson
Mycena galericulata [Bonnet Mycena] is common and widespread on dead and rotting hardwood trees. These are in Pirn Wood above the Leithen Water.
by M J Richardson

NT3237 : December toadstools by M J Richardson
Fruitbodies of Mycena pura, a common fungus, especially of beech woods, although normally earlier than on a freezing December day. They smell of radish. A nose is handy when identifying fungi.
by M J Richardson

J4681 : Winter fungus, Crawfordsburn Glen by Albert Bridge
The velvet shank or winter fungus (Flammulina velutipes) growing on the end of a cut tree very close to J4681 : Stream, Crawfordsburn Glen (3).
by Albert Bridge

NT3237 : Flammulina velutipes on dead Elm by M J Richardson
F. velutipes or Velvet Shank on a dead Elm in woods by St Ronan's Wells. A fungus that thrives in the winter. See also NT3237 : Dead Elm with Velvet Shank fungi.
by M J Richardson

TQ9960 : Fungi on a dead tree, Syndale Park near Faversham by pam fray
I think these are oyster fungi, Pleurotus ostreatus.
by pam fray

SN8260 : Red forest fungi near Cnol Wen, Powys by Roger  Kidd
The forest was dark and damp, and there were many of these Russula emetica fungi at various stages of development. These two were about 80mm in diameter. Their common name is "The Sickener".

Wikipedia has this to say: Russula emetica is a ... mushroom of the genus Russula, one of many species with a predominantly red-coloured cap and white gills and stalk. It gets its common name from its inedibility, as it causes vomiting and diarrhoea when consumed. It has an extremely peppery taste, which is said partly to disappear on cooking, along with its toxicity, though eating it is not recommended.
by Roger Kidd

TQ5323 : Fungi, Wilderness Wood, Hadlow Down (2) by nick macneill
The fungi were picked for a training day.
by nick macneill

The two large ones above are Milkcaps, Lactarius sp.
NX5960 : Pluteus cervinus by M J Richardson
A frequent todstool that grows on dead wood. 'Pluteus' because of the free gills that are pink when mature, no ring or volva, and a pink spore print; 'cervinus' because of the cap colour - Latin for deer is Cervus, which are this colour.
by M J Richardson

Some with dark spore prints:-
NT5027 : Phaeolepiota aurea by M J Richardson
A good growth of this relatively rare fungus near Selkirk. The largest fruit bodies were around 10cm diam, but they can be larger; the golden-ochre cap, well developed ring on the stem and granular surface of the cap are characteristic features. It is said to be edible, but not recommended.
by M J Richardson

NT1471 : Shaggy Ink Caps at Freelands by M J Richardson
Part of a fine growth of Coprinus comatus [also known as Lawyer's Wig] by the roadside east of Ratho. Black spores that have been shed from mature caps as they self-digest can be seen on the lower left.
by M J Richardson

TQ9961 : Fungus in Bysing Wood, Faversham by pam fray
Coprinopsis picacea is a species of fungus commonly called magpie inkcap. It was first described in 1785 by French mycologist Jean Baptiste François Pierre Bulliard in 1785 as Agaricus picaceus. This poisonous species can sometimes be confused with the edible Coprinus comatus. This specimen is reaching the end of its cycle and has lost its more typical shape.
by pam fray

SM8933 : Coprinellus micaceus in Granston Wood by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff
(Formerly Coprinus) A saprobic fungus that grows upon rotten wood, logs and tree stumps, often in great profusion. The common name mica cap derives from the fact that the caps, when new, are powdered with tiny glistening particles although these may be washed off by rain. The gills rapidly deliquesce in a process of autodigestion, but caught in time they are said to make good eating.
Its wide distribution, and the frequency and density of its growth has made this fungus one of the best known and earliest to be recorded and described. It has also been the subject of scientific research for potential medical applications.
by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff

NT2470 : Coprinus disseminatus by M J Richardson
For those who like common names there are two to choose from :- Fairies' Bonnets or Trooping Crumble Cap. This is one of the inkcap species, and is recognisable by its appearance in large groups on or near stumps of broad-leaved trees. In this case the tree is the same one that features in NT2470 : Killer fungus and NT2470 : Killer fungus - the sequel.
by M J Richardson

SO6632 : Shaggy Pholiota fungus, Awnell's Farm, Much Marcle by Bob Embleton
A beautiful cluster of the Shaggy Pholiota (Pholiota Squarrosa) fungus at the base of a cider apple tree in the wonderful orchard at Awnell's Farm.
by Bob Embleton

SP9308 : Old Sulphur Tuft fungi (Hypholoma fasciculare) by Rob Farrow
This group of Sulphur Tuft fungi (Hypholoma fasciculare) growing out of a very mossy log are reaching the end of their fruiting body stage; the caps are wide and little of the original yellowness remains, with brown spreading outwards from the centre of their caps. Beneath them however, younger specimens are emerging to continue the process of digesting the cellulose. Fungi that survive in this way are known as saprotrophes (see SP9208 : Pholiota squarrosa (Shaggy Scalycap) - young for more information on saprotrophes).
More Sulphur Tufts here SP9308 : Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) on log where there is more information about the species.
by Rob Farrow

NT2032 : Fungus in the Manor Valley by M J Richardson
Panaeolus papilionaceous [sphinctrinus] is common on sheep and cattle dung. The gills are dark and mottled, the edge of the cap is fringed when fresh, and the stems are long and slender [not as long as it might appear here, as it overlaps with a piece of rush].
by M J Richardson

NT2570 : I know a place where the fungi blow... by M J Richardson
To distort Oberon! In this case a Psathyrella species on a leaf-littery bank under lime trees in the Hermitage of Braid, Edinburgh. A fragile, delicate species, with dark brown-black spores, and needing detailed examination to be sure of the species.
by M J Richardson

SO5923 : Autumn fungus by Pauline E
A solitary clump on grass below a tree near the skatepark. If viewed at full size the pale green stalks can be seen more clearly.
by Pauline E

TL2601 : Agaricus xanthodermus (Yellow staining mushroom) by Rob Farrow
This is a fungus that it is worth knowing how to identify, as it looks remarkably similar to a field mushroom but is in fact poisonous. Agaricus xanthodermus can easily be identified however, because its flesh turns chrome yellow when bruised. As a general rule, any gilled white or cream fungus that turns yellow on bruising should be avoided as it is indicative of several poisonous species. When cut, the base of the stipe (stem) of this species should exhibit this colouration, but this snapped stem is only showing a little yellowing. The younger mushrooms, before the cap opens, look like padded drum-sticks - running your finger-nail across the cap of these will produce a deep chrome yellow colour. Note also the fawn scaly markings on the top of the caps and the skirt-like ring near the top of the stem on the open (and upside down) example.
See picked example TL2601 : Agaricus xanthodermus - picked
and bruised example TL2601 : Agaricus xanthodermus - indicative chrome yellow
by Rob Farrow

NT0879 : Fairy ring and fairy clubs at Hopetoun House by M J Richardson
Abundant fungi on the lawns of this historic house. The toadstools forming the ring are Stropharia pseudocyanea, and the yellow fairy clubs are one of several species of Clavulinopsis that were present on the lawn.
by M J Richardson

NT5148 : Verdigris agaric by M J Richardson
Stropharia pseudocyanea is one of a group of toadstool species with a characteristic copper/verdigris colour, this one growing in rough pasture near Lauder.
by M J Richardson

NT2032 : Dung Roundhead in the Manor Valley by M J Richardson
With the proper name of Stropharia semiglobata, this is common on dung of herbivores, especially sheep and cattle.
by M J Richardson

NT2032 : Fungus in the Manor Valley by M J Richardson
Panaeolus papilionaceous [sphinctrinus] is common on sheep and cattle dung. The gills are dark and mottled, the edge of the cap is fringed when fresh, and the stems are long and slender [not as long as it might appear here, as it overlaps with a piece of rush].
by M J Richardson


SE3315 : Cep or Penny Bun by John Fielding
Found in the woodland margins at the side of the dam.
by John Fielding

ST8490 : Fungus or Mushroom at the Westonbirt Arboretum by Pam Brophy
An interesting mushroom under the trees in the south eastern corner of the square. This one is a Boletus of the chrysenteron group. Reliable identification of fungi is not always possible from photos.
by Pam Brophy

NN7822 : Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle) by Anne Burgess
One of several species of fungi found in the damp autumnal woods. My thanks to Mike Richardson for identifying it as an Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle).
by Anne Burgess

Brackets and crusts:-

NO5105 : Shaggy Dryad’s Saddle by Richard Sutcliffe
Shaggy Dryad’s Saddle, Cerioporus squamosus normally grows as a bracket, but here is growing in the fork of a sycamore tree NO5105 : Tree under attack, allowing it more space to grow than normal.

Thanks to Mike Richardson for the identification and information.
by Richard Sutcliffe

NT2470 : Fungus fly's view of a Shaggy Dryad's Saddle by M J Richardson
A closer view from the underside of the fungi in NT2470 : Polyporus squamosus in the Hermitage of Braid. As they mature they become egg-laying targets for the fungus feeding flies [Mycetophilidae], since the fungus is the food of their larvae.
by M J Richardson

NT5882 : Shaggy Bracket near Gleghornie by M J Richardson
Inonotus hispidus, a bracket fungus growing on Ash. Saprotrophic or weakly parasitic.
by M J Richardson

NS3477 : Turkeytail Fungus (Trametes versicolor) by Lairich Rig
(Synonym: Coriolus versicolor)

This is a common species that is found all year round on dead wood of deciduous trees; it is also known as Many-zoned Polypore.

The colours shown by this species are extremely variable, although they are always arranged in concentric zones; compare: SM9736 : Turkeytail fungus (Trametes versicolor) and SP9310 : Trametes versicolor. It is easily confused with NY0468 : Gloeophyllum sepiarium (and I hope that I have not done so here).

The fungi in this photograph were growing on a section of a log near a small stream that flows out from the village of Cardross and onto the beach.
by Lairich Rig

NT6342 : Fomes fomentarius [Hoof fungus] at Gordon Moss by M J Richardson
An impressive bracket fungus on Birch in Gordon Moss Nature Reserve. Common on Birch in Scotland and northern England, but often replaced by the Birch tree polypore [Piptoporus betulinus - see NX4361 : Birch Tree Fungi at the Moss of Cree and NJ4203 : Birch Bracket Fungi (Piptoporus betulinus)] further south. Where it does occur in the south it is often on Beech and other hardwoods.
by M J Richardson

NO2251 : Fomes fomentarius at Bamff by M J Richardson
A bracket fungus fruiting on a dead Birch, which it will have killed. in woodland by the Cateran Trail at Bamff. The bush behind is Elder.
by M J Richardson

NT5132 : Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) by Walter Baxter
This inedible common fungus is almost always confined to birch trees. It is also known as Razor-strop Fungus, because in past times, strips of the brackets were utilized as razor strops. Photographed on Cauldshiels Hill.
by Walter Baxter

NZ1265 : Sulphur Polypore (Laetiporus sulphureus) on oak, Close House by Andrew Curtis
Also known as Chicken of the Woods as it is edible when young and fresh (and presumably tastes like chicken). The bright yellow, bracket-like polypore has colonised a side of the tree that had been previously damaged, maybe by a lightning strike, removing bark from one whole side of its trunk. The fungus causes a 'brown rot' in the affected tree, making the wood weak and brittle over time.
by Andrew Curtis

NT1276 : Bracket fungus by M J Richardson
One of those known as 'artist's fungi', Ganoderma australe. The spores are brown and are shed and dispersed in large numbers, many landing not far away, which accounts for the brownish haze around the fruit bodies. As the photo was taken spores could been seen drifting down from the under surfaces of the brackets.
by M J Richardson

NT2470 : Killer fungus by M J Richardson
Meripilus giganteus, a fungus that is able to infect and kill trees, especially beech. It produces these large brackets which produce spores that are dispersed and infect other trees. The fungus will continue to appear on the dead tree for several years, living off the dead wood. Important recyclers as well as parasites. This one was on the forecourt of the local petrol station. The tree fell over on 29 February 2008, and a cross section of the stump shows the infection NT2470 : Killer fungus - the sequel. Another tree on the site, an oak, was felled in November 2008 - for a sequence of pictures showing its demise over two hours see NT2470 : Two hours in the life and death of an oak tree [1].
by M J Richardson
Shared Description

NY0468 : Gloeophyllum sepiarium by M J Richardson
Sorry, no common name. A common and widespread bracket fungus on dead coniferous wood, especially in the north. It looks a bit like Trametes versicolor, another common bracket fungus on wood [see NS3477 : Turkeytail Fungus (Trametes versicolor) and NT2340 : Stump flap or bracket fungus]., but it has a brown, almost gill-like undersurface, rather than white pores. Plenty of it here, where the forest on Longbridge Muir has been felled to allow the bog to be restored.
by M J Richardson

TQ7917 : Wood cauliflower fungus, Oaklands Park by Patrick Roper
This wood cauliflower or brain fungus (Sparassis crispa) was growing at the base of a Scots Pine in Oaklands Park on the estate of the Pestalozzi International Village. It is scarce in our district, but difficult to overlook.
by Patrick Roper

SU3404 : Sparassis crispa fungus, Woodfidley, New Forest by Jim Champion
Growing at the base of a large pine tree on Woodfidley hill in the Denny Lodge Inclosure, this sparassis crispa fruiting body weighed in at nearly 1.5 kilograms. Also known as the "Cauliflower Fungus", its flesh is edible with a very mild taste. There is a similar species called Sparassis brevipes which is also edible, but shouldn't be picked as it is an endangered species.
by Jim Champion

SN0238 : An a-maze-ing fungus! by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff
The underside of Daedalea quercina displays wide gill-like pores radially-aligned in a pattern that resembles a maze. It is from this remarkable labyrinthine structure that the fungus gets its generic name for, according to Greek mythology it was Daedalus who constructed for King Minos, at Knossus, a labyrinth in which lived the Minotaur.
These fungi are said to have been used as curry-combs for horses with tender skins, and like other brackets, for tinder when dried.
by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff

NT2339 : Bracket fungus - Heterobasidion annosum by M J Richardson
Once upon a time better known as Fomes annosus. An important fungus in forestry as it kills conifers [some might think that a plus point]. Roots of healthy trees in dense plantations, crossing roots from infected stumps, can become infected, so the disease spreads. The upper surface is a rich reddish-brown crust, almost varnished in appearance, and the pore surface underneath is quite bright white. It is very common - this one is on a stump of a conifer in South Park Wood at Peebles.
by M J Richardson

TR2843 : Laetiporus sulphureus, growing on a willow tree in Kearsney Abbey by pam fray
Otherwise known as chicken-of-the-woods, this is an edible bracket fungus that grows on deciduous trees and yew. I haven't tried eating it.
by pam fray

SN1725 : Tyromyces, the cheese fungus by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff
This is a odd-looking polyporous fungus that infests decaying trees; it does resemble lumps of a hard white cheesey substance. There are several species and I am unable to say which one this is.
by Natasha Ceridwen de Chroustchoff

NM3125 : Schizophyllum commune by M J Richardson
A close up of an interesting fungus erupting from a plastic-wrapped hay bale at Kintra. The fungus grows mainly on dead wood, but is increasingly being found on bales like this; it has also been found causing mouth ulcers and toe nail infections in humans. For a general view see NM3125 : Fungus on plastic-wrapped bale.
by M J Richardson

Tooth fungi, chanterelles and clubs:-

NS3778 : A fungus - Radulomyces confluens by Lairich Rig
This fungus was about 4cm across, and was growing in a small clump of trees beside the course of an old drove road. It is a fairly common species, though rather unusual in its appearance; it is often covered with warty projections, as shown here.

It is described and illustrated in the book "Fungi of Switzerland – Vol 2" (Breitenbach/Kränzlin) under the synonym Cerocorticium confluens. The book mentions that the most common host is Fagus (beech), that the fungus is soft and waxy in consistency, and that, when moist, as in my own photograph, it is "cream-coloured to greyish-ochre with bluish gleam, hygrophanous and somewhat opalescent".

A "hygrophanous" fungus is one that looks different (specifically, less opaque) when wet. To illustrate what is meant: a piece of tissue paper shows a similar visual change, but a piece of candle wax does not.
by Lairich Rig

NS3976 : Silverleaf Fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum) by Lairich Rig
(An older synonym is Stereum purpureum.)

The fungus was growing on a small tree stump alongside a NS3976 : Footpath beside the River Leven, opposite Gooseholm Water Pumping Station. Some parts encrusted the surface, as shown here, while others were in the form of small brackets arranged in tiers (see SK4344 : Beech stump for an example). The young specimens shown here were strikingly coloured, while some older examples on the same stump showed duller brown shades (compare SM9737 : Silverleaf fungus).

This is a widespread and common species, often found on dead wood, especially of broad-leaved trees. It sometimes occurs in living trees, and can cause "silver leaf disease" in fruit trees.

"Plum trees are particularly susceptible. The first visible sign of infection is silvering of the leaves due to the upper epidermis becoming separated from the rest of the leaf and lifting in patches" ["Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain and Ireland", Roger Phillips, 1981].
by Lairich Rig

NS3983 : A fungus (Vuilleminia comedens) by Lairich Rig
This waxy-looking crust (Wax Crust is its common name) was growing on a tree beside a NS3983 : Path to Whinny Hill Wood. The bark has curled up at the edges of the fungal growth. The area shown here is about 20cm high.
by Lairich Rig

NH9617 : Hydnellum, a tooth fungus by M J Richardson
These tough tooth fungi are characteristic of northern coniferous forests. It is only relatively recently that it has been realised that they occur quite frequently in suitable habitats, but they are often well camouflaged. This one, in the Abernethy forest, very close to the shore of Loch Mallachie, is possibly a new record for Britain, if its identity is confirmed.
by M J Richardson

NN1110 : Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius by David P Howard
Chanterelle fungi growing on a mossy bank by the side of the estate road.
by David P Howard

NT6272 : Horn of Plenty by M J Richardson
Craterellus cornucopioides, a relative of the chanterelles, plentiful in Pressmennan Wood - more than I've ever found before, and reportedly good to eat and much sought after, despite its appearance. I was not impressed by their culinary qualities.
by M J Richardson

NS3984 : Wood Hedgehog Fungus by Lairich Rig
(Hydnum repandum)

There are several English names for this species; "Wood Hedgehog", for example, is the one recommended by the British Mycological Society.

Toothed fungi are common among those species that form a flat crust on wood (the so-called resupinate fungi), but mushrooms that have teeth or spines on the underside of their caps are less familiar.

The patch of mushrooms shown here, all of the same species, was just to the south of a path through Whinny Hill Woodland; specifically, it was beside the part of the route that is shown in NS3984 : Path through the woods, although the path there has been upgraded in the interval since that picture was taken.

The mushrooms are growing around the base of a beech tree, and probably in mycorrhizal association with it (meaning that the fine fungal threads that make up the mycelium, the more extensive underground portion of the fungus, are in a symbiotic association with the roots of the tree). Beech is one of the species of tree with which the Hedgehog Fungus commonly forms such an association.
by Lairich Rig

NH9862 : Devil's Tooth, Hydnellum peckii, Culbin Forest by Greg Fitchett
In Britain this fungus is found only in Scotland, usually in coniferous woodlands. In its early stages of growth the cap often exudes red droplets which are visible on these specimens.
by Greg Fitchett

NS3977 : A fungus - Mucronella species by Lairich Rig
The patch of fungus shown in this photograph is about 8cm across, and the individual spines are up to 8 millimetres long. As far as I know, the Mucronella species found in Britain are M. flava and M. calva: the former usually has yellow spines, and the latter has (according to the literature) shorter spines; it is not clear which of those species is depicted in this picture (Mucronella bresadolae looks very similar, but is not a British species — at least, not as far as I know).

The spines are growing directly downwards (geotropic growth). The fungus is on a fallen conifer near the corner of a road in the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate. That corner is at the far end of the section of road shown in NS3978 : Vale of Leven, Strathleven Industrial Estate.
by Lairich Rig

NT1865 : Macrotyphula fistulosa by M J Richardson
A slender club fungus [which has also been known as Clavaria or Clavariadelphus fistulosa/us], growing in mixed leaf litter and twigs at Harlaw. This was 9cm tall, but can grow much taller.
by M J Richardson

NT5148 : A 'fairy club' fungus by M J Richardson
This one is Clavulinopsis corniculata, common in rough grassland.
by M J Richardson

NS4279 : A fungus: White Spindles by Lairich Rig
(Clavaria fragilis, syn. Clavaria vermicularis)

The first of the Latin names given above alludes to the fragility of the fruiting bodies (they feel rubbery, but they are also very brittle, and attempting to pull one of the spindles out, even gently, will often simply cause it to snap); the second name alludes to their wormlike form.

I had encountered several examples of the similar Golden Spindles (said to be widespread but not particularly common) on the same day (NS4278 : A fungus: Golden Spindles), but only a single example of White Spindles (said to be widespread, but uncommon or rare).

It was growing in a habitat like that of Golden Spindles: grassy moorland, cropped by sheep.
by Lairich Rig

NT0876 : Smoky Spindles (Clavaria fumosa) by Greg Fitchett
This worm-like tangle is known as a coral fungus and has been observed in the same locality on a steep bank in deciduous woodland almost annually since 2006.
by Greg Fitchett

NS4278 : A fungus: Golden Spindles by Lairich Rig
(Clavulinopsis fusiformis)

The species is widespread but not particularly common. This specimen is less spindly and more chunky than is usual, but it was similar to all of those that were to be found in this area; I encountered several examples in locations scattered across the muir, but always in short grass (sheep graze here).

The one shown in the present picture was growing not far from the ruins of Auchenreoch. Several examples I encountered were growing on old field boundaries (in the form of low grassy linear mounds) near the ruin. See NS4278 : Old boundary beside the ruins of Auchenreoch, taken nearby, for an impression of the typical habitat.

On the same excursion, I encountered a single example of the similar but less common White Spindles: NS4279 : A fungus: White Spindles. It is usually described as being widespread, but uncommon or rare.
by Lairich Rig

TQ8399 : Upright Coral Fungus by John Myers
Ramaria stricta. Uncommon in the UK, here growing on buried wood in the disused railway cutting west of the Church Lane bridge.
by John Myers

Gasteromycetes - puffballs and relatives:-

TQ8391 : Common Puffball by John Myers
Lycoperdon perlatum
by John Myers

NS3978 : Common Puffball - Lycoperdon perlatum by Lairich Rig
For context, see NS3978 : Path through the woods.

The puffballs have lost most of their spines; however, this brings into view an intricate surface tessellation, best seen in larger image sizes. In that pattern, the larger, paler areas are where the spines were attached.

For younger examples, with spines, see SX8754 : Puffballs, Greenway and J4477 : Fungus, Ballysallagh forest, Craigantlet (3). This frequently-encountered species occurs in mixed woods and conifer woods, but is also often found in open grassy spaces ["Fungi without Gills", M B Ellis & J P Ellis].
by Lairich Rig

NT7870 : Puffballs in Tower Dean by M J Richardson
Lycoperdon pyriforme, the only British puffball that grows on wood, on a pile of cut wood in the Scottish Wildlife Trust Pease Dean Reserve.
by M J Richardson

NJ5108 : Fifth fungus by Anne Burgess
I found a lot of different types of fungi on this walk, but I have yet to identify them. I believe that it is some kind of puffball.
by Anne Burgess

This is Lycoperdon nigrescens
SE2231 : Giant Puffball by Tong Lane by Rich Tea
Walking up the pavement on the north side of Tong Lane, I spotted it under the hedge. It was about the size of a football.
by Rich Tea

SE4140 : Birds Nest Fungus by M J Richardson
Crucibulum laeve is a frequent and attractive birds nest fungus - the 'nests' are about 1cm diam. and the 'eggs' contain spores, and are dispersed by raindrops.
by M J Richardson

NT4936 : A Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) by Walter Baxter
This was one of several which appeared around a conifer in my back garden. The unpleasant smell of this fungus is unmistakable and flies are attracted to the slimy head. Slime sticks to the legs of flies which acts as a means of spore dispersal.
by Walter Baxter

TQ1361 : Aseroe rubra, Esher Common by Alan Hunt
A freshly emerged example of this wonderfully bizarre looking fungus.
by Alan Hunt

TQ7818 : Red cage fungus in Long Lane, Sedlescombe village by Patrick Roper
The red cage fungus (Clathrus ruber) is a rather rare species, but widespread in southern England. It is related to the stink horn fungus and its smell of carrion attracts flies that distribute the spores.
by Patrick Roper

Dacrymycetes and Tremellomycetes - jelly fungi:-

NO5251 : Calocera viscosa by M J Richardson
A jelly fungus that grows on dead coniferous wood, in this case a fallen and almost dead larch at Balgavies Loch Wildlife Reserve NO5251 : Fallen larch at Balgavies Loch. Sometimes called 'Stag's horn fungus', but that name is more often used for the black and white candle snuff fungus [Xylaria hypoxylon SN0239 : Candle snuff fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon)], which shows that even 'common' or 'English' names can cause as much confusion as the Latin ones.
by M J Richardson

ST4866 : Little brown umbrellas by Neil Owen
Some fungi have broken out on this upright branch of a tree. Following consultation, the fungi are Jew's Ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae) - a member of the jelly types (Heterobasidiomycetes) - and are particularly fond of elder as a host.

Acknowledgement and thanks to Barbara, marshman and Pilobolus.
by Neil Owen

NX8552 : Jelly fungus on gorse by M J Richardson
A strikingly colourful fungus [Tremella mesenterica], common and widespread, especially on gorse. It does not actually grow on the gorse, but is parasitic on the mycelium of other fungi [Peniophora spp.] that do.
by M J Richardson

NS4175 : Yellow Brain Fungus by Lairich Rig
(Tremella mesenterica)

This is one of the most frequently encountered of the Jelly Fungi. Shown here is a particularly large group which was about 15cm (6") high. Prolonged dry weather will make this fungus shrivel to a fraction of its normal size, but it returns to normal size when next moistened. This fungus is usually coloured as shown here, but it can also occur as forms that are colourless (or nearly so).

[Those more washed-out forms used to be considered another species, Tremella lutescens, but they are now generally thought merely to be colour variants rather than a different species. As a final twist, similar but colourless fungi could also be something entirely different, such as NS3983 : White Brain fungus (Exidia thuretiana) or NS3878 : Crystal Brain Fungus (Exidia nucleata).]
by Lairich Rig

NS4883 : Leafy Brain Fungus by Lairich Rig
(Tremella foliacea)

This large, well-developed example was located in the area of woodland that slopes down towards the Carnock Burn from the north; the fungus was growing only a few metres west of a NS4883 : Ford across the Carnock Burn, and not far downhill from a ruin (NS4883 : Ruin beside the Carnock Burn).
by Lairich Rig

NS4276 : A fungus - Exidia recisa by Lairich Rig
This is one of the jelly fungi. The individual fruiting bodies shown here are a centimetre or so across. This species is sufficiently uncommon as not to be included in most identification guides aimed at the general public. On the other hand, the species is not rare, although it is probably under-reported.

The fruiting bodies are generally inconspicuous except after periods of wet weather. I was fortunate enough to come across these ones in a sunlit situation. The crimped circular edge of the underside is well seen in this view.

The fungi were beside a footpath through the woods in the Overtoun Estate, not far from the NS4276 : Former dam and lily pond.
by Lairich Rig

Pucciniomycetes and Ustilaginomycetes - rust and smut fungi:-

These are all parasitic on plants, and can cause considerable economic damage to crop plants
J3371 : Rust fungus, Belfast by Albert Bridge
Bramble rust fungus, on a leaf close to J3371 : Blackberries, Belfast (2) in the car park near the Stranmillis roundabout.
by Albert Bridge

NS4274 : Rust fungus on Ramsons by Lairich Rig
The plant is on NS4373 : Ramsons (Allium ursinum), also called Wild Garlic.

The rust fungus Puccinia sessilis (Arum Rust or Ramsons Rust) has caused the yellow patches on the leaves; closer inspection reveals each patch to consist of many much smaller yellow reproductive structures called aecia (singular aecium): NS4274 : Ramsons Rust (Puccinia sessilis).

The plant is beside the footpath (part of cycle route NCN 7) between the Milton Animal Home and the railway line. The path has been included in the view for context. For more context, see NS4274 : Cycle path crossing the Milton Burn, in which this area is just to the right of the path, not far beyond the point where it crosses the burn.
by Lairich Rig
Shared Description

NT3955 : Creeping Thistles at Falahill Cottages by M J Richardson
Creeping Thistles [Cirsium arvense], with the RH plant infected by Creeping Thistle Rust [Puccinia punctiformis]. These thistles are perennial and widespread. Some plants are infected by a rust fungus, with mycelium that overwinters in the roots. Infected plants are smaller, yellowish, and with more erect leaves, which allow them to be readily spotted amongst healthy plants. Later in the summer small brown ['rust'] pustules appear on the underside of the leaves; they have a sickly sweet smell, which attracts insects, which then disperse the spores.
by M J Richardson

NS3976 : Meadowsweet Rust (Triphragmium ulmariae) by Lairich Rig
Just beyond the bridge shown in NS3976 : Footbridge on Cycle Route, on the left-hand side of the path, there were several examples of this rust fungus growing on meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria, at the edge of the field.

It is often seen, as in this photograph, on the leaf-stalks and midribs, where it causes swellings that can be considered plant galls. These conspicuously orange areas are covered in aecia (for which, see NS3679 : Gall on nettle, which also comments upon the complex life cycle of rust fungi).

A different kind of gall, caused by insects, had formerly been common on the meadowsweet plants in this area: NS3976 : Galls on Meadowsweet. However, the cycle route was resurfaced in late 2008 to early 2009, causing some disruption to the plant-life alongside it; as of 2010, the latter kind of gall did not yet appear to have returned (or, at least, not in such numbers as to be noticeable).
by Lairich Rig

NS3679 : Gall on nettle by Lairich Rig
This gall is very common on nettles, and can appear on the stem, leaf stalk, leaf, or the (very small and inconspicuous) flowers of the plant. The gall is caused by a fungus, Puccinia urticata ("nettle rust", or "nettle clustercup rust").

Aside from causing obvious swelling, the gall can be seen to be dotted with numerous so-called cluster-cups, which have orange discs and a paler yellow margin; these cups are called "aecia" ("aecium", singular).

The rust fungi, of which this fungus is one, have an extremely complex life-cycle. Some of them can produce up to five different kinds of spore; the different spore-producing structures are designated, in the scientific literature, 0 (zero), I, II, III, and IV. Species that produce all five kinds of spore are said to be macrocyclic; those that do not are called microcyclic or demicyclic, the name depending on the missing stage(s) of the lifecycle. Puccinia urticata is a macrocyclic rust; two of its five stages are hosted on nettle, while the other three are hosted on a species of sedge.

As "British Plant Galls" (Redfern, Shirley & Bloxham; 2002) states, "it seems likely that, amongst all living things, the rust fungi have the most complex life cycles and nuclear arrangements".

The cluster-cups shown here produce asexually-formed "aeciospores" (stage I of the life-cycle); inspection through a hand-lens will often show that some of these discs have a yellow powdery mass adhering to them, made up of spores that have emerged from the discs.

This specimen was on a plant growing beside the path shown in NS3679 : Access to Asker Farm and covered reservoir.
by Lairich Rig

NS4074 : Rust fungus galls on Alexanders by Lairich Rig
The location is shown in NS4074 : Path beside Dumbarton Rock; see that picture for context.

The plant, which formed a patch there, is NS4074 : Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum); that item, as well as showing the plant as a whole, explains why the species, which is not otherwise common in the wider area, is found here beside Dumbarton Rock.

The yellow spots shown here are galls caused by the rust fungus Puccinia smyrnii (colloquially, Alexanders Rust). The picture shows the upper side of the leaf. On the underside of each of these yellow blisters were several tiny, vividly-yellow, cup-like aecia, very much like the ones shown in NS3679 : Gall on nettle, although a different rust fungus is involved there; that item also comments on the complex life-cycles of the rust fungi in general.
by Lairich Rig


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