Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Fri 24 Sep 2004

Taphrina alni   Spider nest in Acer pseudoplatanus

The Alder Tongue Gall has been spreading rapidly across the country in recent years and has now reached Skye.  It's a fungus, Taphrina alni, that causes purple outgrowths on the cones.  More autumn colour is provided by this Sycamore seedling whose first pair of leaves had been woven together by a spider to make a nest.  There were cast skins of baby spiders inside.

Laccaria laccata   Viscid dark-spored mushroom

This little group of mushrooms under Hazel are all one species despite the different colouring, Laccaria laccata, the Deceiver.  The one in the right-hand picture is not known.  Its cap was very wet and sticky, and the spores very dark brown, black when massed together.  There were possible remains of a veil or ring both near the top and near the base of the stem, but it was hard to be sure.  The cap separated from the stipe easily.  Stipe very slender, only 4 mm across but 11.5 cm long.  Gills fork into 2s or 3s near the edge, and fork again into 2s at the very edge.  Possibly Bolbitius vitellinus or a Psathyrella sp.

 Tricholoma pseudoalbum possibly   Tricholoma pseudoalbum possibly   Earthball or Puffball

The mushroom in the first two pictures has a very chunky stipe.  It was under Beech, with Birch also very close by.  It didn't give a spore print.  Possibly Tricholoma pseudoalbum.  On the right is a Puffball or Earthball that has opened up to release the dark brown spores.  It's far too advanced to identify it.  Under Hazel.  Had a stipe 12 mm long, narrowing towards the top, with flecks on its surface.  Cap surface had no flecks but was minutely pitted.

The area where I found all these also had a lot of Yellow Brain Fungus, all of it on Gorse, on both living trunks or branches and dead ones.  The one that I showed on 12 Feb (from a different area) has been absent for many months; it will be interesting to see if it reappears now that it seems to be the season for them.

Sat 25 Sep 2004

Amanita muscaria, faded to orange   Amanita muscaria

Spotted this orange mushroom by the road on the way back from Inverness today.  It can only be a faded Fly Agaric, despite the lack of any of those white flecks that normally cover the cap and leave a mark the shape of the fleck but the colour of the cap after they fall off.  The cap of this one was completely smooth.  The picture on the right is of the only other specimen in the vicinity, which does have a few flecks. 



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer