Jelly ear Auricularia auricula-judae

This common gelatinous fungus, often found on the dead branches of Elder, can be found at all times of the year. The top of each fungus is often smooth, but after recent frosts these have become folded and wrinkled. They are usually soft and rubbery in texture. but when very dry they can become hard and brittle. Long ago they were collected and used in the treatment of sore throats.

Jelly Ear, Oxbind Coppice, 23 January 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Oak Bracket Inonotus dryadeus

This large and impressive bracket fungus (up to 40cms wide) is usually found on live oak trees, although it can grow on other deciduous trees, generally appearing near the base of the trunk and always attacking the heartwood causing whiterot. The robust humpy fruiting brackets appear in early autumn when they weep an amber liquid from depressions on the upper surface.

Oak Bracket, Inonotus dryadeus, Button Oak, 24 August 2016 ©Rosemary Winnall

Oak Bracket, Inonotus dryadeus, Button Oak, 24 August 2016 ©Rosemary Winnall

 

Dog Stinkhorn Mutinus caninus

We were surprised to see this Dog Stinkhorn fungus in New Parks recently. Over 60 ‘eggs’ were counted – they were smaller than those of the more commonly found Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus), and looked a little like the eggs of a Grass Snake. The slime at the top of the stem contains the spores which are dispersed by flies that are attracted to the fetid smell.

Dog Stinkhorn, Wyre Forest, 10 October 2015 ©Rosemary Winnall

Holly Speckle Trochila ilicina

Holly Speckle is a very common Ascomycete fungus which infects the upper surface of brown dead holly leaves. The black speckles open up in winter to expose the spores. There are 2 closely related species, one that occurs on the underside of dead Ivy leaves, and the other on the underside of Cherry laurel leaves.

Holly Speckle, Trochila ilicina, Callow Hill, 27 September 2015

Scarlet Elfcup Sarcoscypha sp.

Jon Cartwright is sharing his photograph of one of the few spring fungi that can be found growing on bare soil and rotting twigs, often in groups under trees. They make a brilliant splash of colour in the springtime. There are 2 species which are difficult to tell apart without checking the spores using a microscope.

Scarlet Elfcup Sarcoscypha sp. 28 February 2015 ©Jon Cartwright

Crimson Waxcap, Hygrocybe punicea

A group of Crimson Waxcap toadstools at this time of the year is a lovely sight. This species only appears on good quality unimproved grassland and if it is present there may be several other waxcap fungi, fairy clubs, earth tongues and Entolomas present too. They do not necessarily appear above ground every year, and conditions need to be just right for them to fruit.

Crimson Waxcap, Hygrocybe punicea, Willow Bank, 22 November 2014

Russula violeipes Quél. (1898) Velvet Brittlegill. 25th August 2013

Quite a few fungi fruit early in the season and have disappeared by the main autumn fruiting. This is typical of Russula violeipes, the Velvet Brittlegill. An uncommon species of fungus and rarely recorded from Wyre Forest. Typically it occurs with beech trees, often on the edge of a forest ride but it may also be found with oak. The pale yellow cap and white stipe with a violet flush is quite distinctive and normally makes them immediately recognizable. The gills are brittle and break hence the name ‘brittle gills’.

Leccinum crocipodium (Letell.) Watling

Saffron Bolete

The first signs of the fungus fruiting season are now showing after the summer rains.  Wyre Forest is exceptionally rich in fungi with some 2,000 species recorded over the years. Leccinum crocipodium, the Saffron Bolete is an summer fruiting fungus that grows with oak trees.  The fungus is quite large and distinctively coloured when young but darkens with age and damages dark brown/grey to black.  It is quite a scarce species in Britain with most records scattered over southern England, especially noted from the New Forest in Hampshire. Wyre Forest is the only known location for this species in Shropshire with four different sites found in the forest.  Never eat any fungi unless you can identify them correctly.