Friday, 23 August 2013

Foray in Drumboe

Based on sightings and numbers of fungi seen recently, I suspected we were having an early and productive year for them, so I went to Drumboe to see what was going on. Drumboe is usually pretty good for more common fungi, but I was astonished at the numbers and wide range of fungi that I found close together, sometimes finding half a dozen different species under a single tree: every step brought new specimens into view.

First sighting was the Porcelain Mushroom - Oudemansiella mucida:

Porcelain mushroom - Oudemensiella mucida
It grows on the upper ends of dead Beech wood, so it's always easy to get an underside shot, which shows the beautiful and delicate cap:

Oudemansiella mucida underside
The next tree was a very live Beech, and the floor below it was covered with mushrooms of every colour: an amazing sight. The first to catch my eye was a batch of Chanterelles:

These have a wonderful scent reminiscent of apricots. Wonderful flavour, too.....

There were various Russulas and Lactarius, mostly in some degree of wear and tear. I used Geoff Kibby's excellent new key to Russulas to identify this specimen as Russula aurora:

Russula aurora
The key features of this Russula are: the blood-red cap, fading to cream in the centre, cuticle peeling to 50%, mild taste, mild smell, white spores.

New to my species list.

The Lactarius family can be recognised by the production of 'milk' from the gills when damaged. This 'milk' can be very useful when identifying Lactarius species, as it can taste hot, bitter or mild, and the taste can be instantly obvious, or develop slowly over time:

Lactarius 'milk'
This specimen turned out to be Lactarius brittanicus, which has a strong association with Beech.

I also found Lactarius piperatus, which has very hot milk.

The same tree was host to the bolete Xerocomus chrysenteron - the Red Cracking Bolete:

Xerocomus chrysenteron - Red Cracking Bolete
(Although I'm pretty sure that one was renamed a few years ago). 

There were also plenty of specimens of the Beechwood Sickener - Russula mairei:

Beechwood Sickener
The Blusher - Amanita rubescens - is a fairly frequent find under broadleaf trees:

The Blusher - Amanita rubescens

Mycena pura can vary dramatically in size. Some specimens are small and very dainty, measuring 15-20 mm across the cap, but others - like the following specimen - can be large enough to be confused with Wood Blewits:

Mycena pura
Fortunately, the smell is instantly recognisable: it can be described as being like radishes or raw potatoes: raphanoid.

Earthballs can be separated from Puffballs by the absence of a stem:

Earthball Scleroderma citrinum
I also find earthballs are heavier for their size.

I spotted this Ascomycete, and realised that I hadn't seen it before:

Tarzetta cupularis
Tarzetta cupularis is identified by the teeth around the rim and the downy exterior, and is associated with mosses. There are a handful of Irish records.

New to my species list.

Helvella macropus is another scarce fungus, which I have previously seen on only one occasion:

Helvella macropus
It is essentially a grey cup fungus on a long, thin, felty stipe. Again, a handful of Irish records.

Another fungus which I rarely see: 

Earth Star - Thelophora spiculosa
Thelophora spiculosa is a ground-hugging fungus that can be very easily overlooked. It grows in moist soil, as do the liverworts underneath it.

No trip to Drumboe is complete without finding one of my favourites - Marasmius hudsonii:

Marasmius hudsonii
Marasmius hudsonii is specific to Holly leaves, and that shot shows a spike on a Holly leaf to the right for size. The spines which cover the minute cap can clearly be seen in silhouette. 

I feel a trip to Ards coming on for Sunday.

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