Field Reports

Saturday 13 October: Fungus Foray in Houghton Forest

Leader Sara Shepley

A total of 25 people gathered around Sara Shepley at Whiteways Car Park at the start of our Foray. She explained something of the complexity of the Fungi Kingdom. The different habitats (whether woodland, field, specific host tree, above or underground) were mentioned as well as the vast numbers of species. Identification can involve appearance, smell, taste and location, leading to the next problem of actual ‘naming’ as continual research, particularly DNA analysis, is resulting in almost constant recategorization and new names (both Latin and common!)

Participants were encouraged to wander and keep their eyes open. Quickly, fungi were spotted, collected, photographed or pointed at and we were delighted to see Sara go to work on identification and then giving us associated stories, uses and folklore. Some members were especially pleased to have their own identification confirmed.  

I was particularly taken by the common names e.g. porcelain fungi, glistening ink cap, curtain crusts, sponge caps, brittle stems, magpie fungus, jelly rot and puff balls. Others were wonderfully descriptive like King Alfred’s cakes, angels’ bonnets, dead man’s fingers, funeral bell and horn of plenty. And as for Poison Pie?!

Sara’s basket soon filled up, particularly with fungi needing further identification (full list below).  Final finds were a splendid slime mould was found on an ash tree (very cauliflower like!) and ergot on a Cocksfoot grass inflorescence.

A great morning, with many thanks indeed to Sara for her enthusiasm and knowledge, so clearly dispensed. Gill Hance

Sara Shepley comments:

The most noteworthy of our day’s finds was the small, apparently nondescript fruitbody which had improbably blue/green gills (and spores). This turned out to be Melanophyllum eyrie, a not very common, but possibly overlooked, species.   Also worth mentioning are Macrolepiota konradii and Lepiota echinacea. M. konradii is described as “uncommon” in field guides and one distinguishing feature is  the way the central scales break up to form a starfish shape. One of the features of L. echinacea is the bristly brown warts on the cap surface. However, there are several other similar species that don’t appear in the field guides, so I put this forward as a suggestion rather than a definite identification.

Recommended Field Guides:

Collins Fungi Guide which is by Stefan Buczacki, Chris Shields and Denys Ovenden
Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools by Paul Sterry and Barry Hughes (out of print, but more portable for field outings)
The Hidden Life of Trees, what they feel, how they communicate. Peter Wohlleben

  Species List, kindly compiled by Sara Shepley

Agaricus xanthodermus                                  Yellow Stainer

Amanita muscaria                                          Fly Agaric

Bjerkandera adusta                                        Smoky Bracket

Chlorociboria aeruginascens                          Green Elfcup

Coprinopsis picacea                                        Magpie Inkcap

Coprinus micaceus                                          Glistening Ink Cap

Craterellus cornucopioides                             Horn of Plenty

Daedalea quercina                                         Oak Mazegill

Daldinia concentrica                                       King Alfred’s Cakes/Cramp Balls

Ganoderma australe                                       Southern Bracket

Gymnopus peronatus                                      Wood Woollyfoot

Hebeloma crustuliniforme                             Poison Pie

Hebeloma sinapizans                                      Bitter Poisonpie

Hygrophorus discoxanthus                              Yellowing Woodwax

Hypoxylon fragiforme                                     Beech Woodwort

Inocybe rimosa                                               Split Fibrecap

Kuehneromyces mutabilis                              Sheathed Woodtuft

Lepiota echinacea

Lycoperdon pyriforme                                    Stump Puffball

Macrolepiota konradii

Melanophyllum eyrei                                     Greenspored Dapperling

Mycena arcangeliana                                     Angel’s Bonnet

Mycena crocata                                              Saffrondrop Bonnet

Mycena galericulata                                       Common Bonnet

Mycena vitilis                                                  Snapping Bonnet

Oudemansiella mucida                                   Porcelain fungus

Phallus impudicus                                           Stinkhorn (smelt but not seen)

Phlebia tremellosa                                          Jelly Rot

Phragmidium violaceum                                Bramble Rust

Piptoporus betulinus                                       Razorstrop fungus/Birch Bracket

Pluteus cervinus                                              Deer Shield

Postia stiptica                                                  Bitter Bracket

Psathyrella candolleana                                 Pale Brittlestem

Psathyrella conopilus                                      Conical Brittlestem

Psathyrella corrugis                                        Red Edge Brittlestem

Psathyrella prona

Rhytisma acerina                                            Tar Spot

Schizopora paradoxa                                      Split Porecrust

Stereum hirsutum                                           Hairy Curtain Crust

Trametes versicolor                                        Turkey Tail

Tricholoma lascivum                                      Aromatic Knight (strong smell of insecticide)

Tricholoma stiparophyllum

Tricholoma sulphureum                                 Sulphur Knight

Trochila ilicina                                                 Holly Speckle

Xylaria polymorpha                                        Dead man’s fingers

Sara explains....

A basket of goodies

Fly Agaric

Dead Man's Fingers

Shaggy Ink Cap



Chichester, West Sussex

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