Elfcups are spring cup fungi that brighten our late winter woodland floor with their attractive fruiting bodies. They grow, often in troops, on rotten fallen twigs of broad-leaved trees. Previously thought to be one species, it has recently been discovered that there are two, only separated by details of the spores. Scarlet Elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca) appears to be commoner than Ruby Elfcup (Sarcoscypha coccinea).
Autumn is here. Trees are colouring and their leaves beginning to fall, the Fallow deer rut has begun in the Forest, and toadstools are appearing in good numbers. Fly Agarics are splendid if you can find them before the slugs reach them. After heavy rain the white warts on the cap can be washed off making the fungus look like a different species.
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.
This small (6mm) attractive beetle is, in fact, a type of Rove Beetle, although it doesn’t look like most of the staphylinids. It feeds on fungi, particularly bracket fungi, and may be found between April and August.
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.
This lovely fungus Calocera viscosa on an old conifer stump in Postensplain made us realise that autumn was coming to Wyre!
This is a resupinate fungus that can join tree branches together as seen here on Hazel, its most common host. The black colouration is actually a waterproof coating to the fungal mycelium which grows from infected dead wood to an adjacent living branch. It is the only example of its kind in the UK. The fruiting body is brown in colour and spores are released through pores. These photographs were taken in the Betts Reserve on 6 February 2013.