Sunday, 5 February 2012

Horse Hair fungus

This is a good time of year to find one of my favourite mushrooms: Marasmius hudsonii, which is found solely on Holly. Hunt around beneath a Holly bush, and have a close look at any soft, black and wet fallen leaves. Pink or white dots are the first indication that you've found one of the most interesting mushrooms we have:
Marasmius hudsonii on Holly
This mushroom is tiny: the cap is between 2 and 3 mm in diameter, and the stipe ('stem') is as fine as horse-hair, hence its common name: Horse-hair mushroom. But look even more closely, and you will see that the cap is covered with tiny, purple bristles.

Underneath, the cap has a few, relatively thick, gills:

Underside of Marasmius hudsonii, showing thick gills
I find this mushroom under almost every specimen of Holly I choose to examine, but there has to be a mat of the soft wet leaves for it to be found: too dry and they won't be there.

There's a similar (but unspiked) member of the same mushroom family that's found on wet Ivy leaves: Marasmius epiphylloides.


Gill said...

I love this little fungus - just wish I could find it here in Ryedale - I keep looking.

Yoke, said...

Thank you for another very interesting post.

Lots of Holly around here. Will have a look tomorrow. Interesting that I got a couple of Common Holly in the garden, this year, among with 4 other native trees. Including Rowan, Common Alder and both Haw-and Black Thorn.

Viktor said...
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