Saturday 29th September Firestone Copse
We had a damp start for our first foray of the season but, until recently, the weather had been dry. Fungi were just starting to make an appearance. Firestone Copse is reliably good for fungi but our group of eight forayers were able to name just 34 species. We hope to do much better over the coming weeks!
The smallest fungi are sometimes the most beautiful and interesting and that proved to be the case on this foray.
Marasmius bulliardii is a little Horsehair Fungus which grows on fallen oak leaves. One distinguishing feature of this Marasmius is that the gills under the cap are joined near the base to form a collar (referred to as a collarium) around the top of the stem or stipe.
Also growing on fallen oak leaves, a tiny white cup fungus, Lachnum ciliare, has beautiful fringed cups on stalks when viewed under a lens.
Sunday 6th October Parkhurst Forest
Today proved to be an extremely productive foray although we only got from the carpark to Signal House and back in a circular route. We were a group of 13 members and friends and we were blessed with a sparkling sunny day.
We were puzzled by a large slim unopened fungus pushing up through the grass but this proved to be just a Parasol Mushroom, Lepiota procera. There were plenty of earthballs, Scleroderma, about and we were delighted to find one fine specimen with two parasitic boletes attached. We also found a cluster of Oysterlings, Panellus stipticus, on dead wood.
Selena made the best find of the day, three small fungi growing from a pine cone. It was only when someone remarked that they had spines instead of gills that the penny dropped that we were looking at the Earpick Fungus, Auriscalpium vulgare. The cap of this fungus is laterally placed making it look like a kidney-shaped cap on a hairy stipe. Fungi books describe the Earpick Fungus as being common and widespread but that does not appear to be the case with us. It is indeed inconspicuous but we have held many forays at Parkhurst Forest and other Island sites, often with very experienced and professional mycologists, and yet this fungus has never been recorded in recent years. Indeed, there are just two previous records: at Mottistone in 1932 and at Shanklin in 1924!
We frequently find two species of Cauliflower Fungus, Sparassis crispa and the rarer Sparassis laminosa when we visit Parkhurst and today was no exception. What was surprising this time was that both specimens of Sparassis laminosa were growing closely associated with fungi associated with conifers. Sparassis laminosa is generally considered to be associated with broadleaved trees. We found on specimen growing over Rootrot, Heterobasidion annosum, and the second with Earthfan, Thelophora terrestris.
We also found some interesting smaller fungi. Chromelosporium ochraceum is a remarkable mould that looks spectacular under the binocular microscope. It is actually the asexual stage of a Peziza cup fungus. It has been reported from here once before on a visit of the British Mycological Society. One small Ganoderma bracket fungus we found turned out to be the Artists Bracket, Ganoderma applanatum, which we don’t see very often. This particular bracket fungus often has chimney-like galls caused by the fly, Agathomyia wankowiczii, on the underside of the bracket. We haven’t recorded this gall from the Island yet but we believe that this specimen showed a young developing gall.
We also found a parasitic fungus, tentatively identified as a Tremella, parasitising the resupinate fungus, Schizopora paradoxa.
Far more spectacular was the splendid display of Fly Agarics, Amanita muscaria, growing alongside the path back to the carpark.
We recorded 57 species on our two hour visit. There would have been plenty more to find had we stayed longer. Parkhurst Forest 6th Sept 2019