Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Ards forest

I always visit Ards forest at least once during the fungal season, and Sunday promised a few dry hours, so off I went. Despite the recent rain, there didn't appear to be a great many specimens, but I did find a decent range of singletons.

Tricholomopsis rutilans is one of the few fungi that were traditionally allocated a common name: Plums and Custard.
Tricholomopsis rutilans - Plums and Custard
I have often mused about the reason for some species having common names, whilst the vast majority do not. All species have a double-barrelled 'formal name', but I suppose that common names were allocated to species that were:

  • a) easily recognisable
  • b) important for one reason or another (I'm thinking edibility or toxins or medicines here)
I should point out that there was an exercise undertaken a few years ago to allocate a common name to hundreds of fungi. The idea behind this is that the formal binominal is usually Latin or Greek in origin, and is therefore seen to be 'unfriendly' or 'daunting' or 'offputting'.  Having learned all the formal names, I won't be re-learning the new ones.

The Russula family of mushrooms is readily identified by the brightly-coloured cap and chalk-white stipe (stem). Many species of this family (and others!) require chemical analysis or microscopic analysis or odour or 'percentage peelability of the cap' for confirmation of the identity, so I'll preface any identifications as tentative for now. Spore prints are under preparation. (I'm currently waiting for Geoff Kibby's new monograph on Russulas to arrive in the post, so I'll update identifications as required).

Russula ochroleuca is very common in Ards, being found under conifers and broad-leaf trees: 

Russula ochroleuca

This specimen was also found under conifers:

The blackish centre and very peelable cap are leading me towards Russula fragilis:

Russula cf. fragilis

This specimen has buff/yellow gills, and was again found under a conifer:

Russula cf. erythropus
The gills are joined at their base by cross-veins and the cap peeled perhaps 10%, so this is pointing towards Russula erythropus.

Mycenas are very delicate little fungi, often found growing in moss:

Mycena in Dicranum majus moss
It's always good to see Chanterelles. Sadly, I only found one:

Chanterelle - Cantharellus cibarius

The underside of Chanterelles has thick, forked ridges, rather than gills:

Chanterelle underside

I also found a couple of Hedgehog mushrooms:
Hedgehog mushroom
The underside of Hedgehog has spines, just one of the many techniques that fungi use to increase the spore-producing area:

Underside of Hedgehog mushroom, showing spines

Last year, I tentatively identified these as Cortinarius semisanguineus:

Cortinarius cf. semisanguineus
Nobody has disagreed so far.....

I found a single specimen of Phellodon melaleucus in its usual spot:

Phellodon melaleucus
It's a very rare mushroom smelling strongly of fenugreek when dry.

I found a few specimens of Wood Sorrel in a very dark and damp part of the forest that had been infected with the rather scarce Mycosphaerella depazeiformis.

Mycosphaerella depazeiformis on Wood Sorrel
I looked up the records for Mycosphaerella depazeiformis and found that there are only 6 previous records in BI. Three are from Ireland, the most recent in 1936 in Cork. It's very noticeable, so I think it's actually rather scarce, rather than just under-recorded.

More (non-fungal) items from Ards in the next post.

1 comment:

Gill said...

Nice page. I've also known "Plums and Custard" as "Rhubarb and Custard". I used to see this quite commonly 10+years ago but it seems to have disappeared from my woods in Ryedale. I wonder what's changed?

So far this is a dreadful year for fungi. There aren't many, and those that do put their heads up are instantly eaten by the explosion of slugs we've had.