Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)
Sun 10 Oct 2004
Yesterday we looked at moorland fungi, today it is the turn of deciduous woodland, mostly Birch, Hazel and Willow. As with yesterday's outing, it was only possible to investigate a fraction of the fungal types that were there, especially as this time I only had a couple of hours. Most of the ones I did photograph are unidentified - hope someone can help.
This one seems be the Woolly Milk-cap, Lactarius torminosus,
although that is not supposed to have a viscid cap. This one's cap was
very sticky, and remained so 2 days after picking. Young cap on the left, more mature one on
the right. Notice the size - a very large species.
More pictures of the same species. The cap has a frilly
edge tucked under the gills (LH pic). The gills are forked near the rim,
but also close to the stem (Middle pic). The stem (RH pic) is hollow and
very wet; if you squeeze it water comes out like from a sponge. The spores
are white. The "milk", which all Lactarius species exude when cut, is very
sparse, it can take two or three goes to get any. It is white and doesn't
change colour on exposure. The fungus has a faint, pleasant,
mushroomy-woodland (not musty) smell. It was under birch, among grass and
leaf-litter, not bare ground.
Another wet and sticky mushroom, with another hollow stem that
pours forth water even more copiously than the last. But this one has
decurrent gills, or at least downward-sloping ones. In moss and
leaf-litter with both Eared Willow and Downy Birch very close by. When the
cap is cut open, there's a purplish line between the cap and the gills.
Spores are white. Doesn't key out, but with the depression in the cap
centre, it's probably somewhere in the Omphalina/Clitocybe section of the books.
This is the Honey Fungus, Armillaria mellea agg. It was growing on
the branch of a live birch tree, about 3-4' above the ground. The cap has
a striated edge, the paler inner area is dotted with small peg-like outgrowths.
No smell except for a somewhat dampish odour. No spore print. Gills
adnate. Stem black except at top. RH pic shows where gills meet top
This jelly fungus, Exidia repanda, was also on birch well above ground level, but in this case on dead wood.
The orange one is not a fungus but a slime mould, Lycogala terrestre. Thanks to Chris Yeates for suggesting this. It was on a very dead and rotten birch trunk lying on the ground. When you prod it, it just smears as if it was a blob of paint.
There were many Brown Birch Boletes and some splendid Birch
Polypores in the woods (insofar as I can recognise those two species) but we've
had those before on the site.
Another one I can't identify. Growing under Eared Willow,
with Birch nearby. Long thin stems which are hollow with white flakes on
the inside edge as in RH picture. No smell. On young specimens the
gills have a pink zone along the top. When left overnight for a spore
print, does not give one but gives out a lot of water.
A huge mushroom growing among moss on the top side of
a horizontal birch trunk, the tree still living. Gills decurrent, crowded.
Flesh of cap and stem like dense white cotton wool or plastic foam, very
unusual. Rich buttery smell. Spores pale grey, almost white.
This whitish fungus (more of a buff colour lower down) appears to be Clavulina rugosa or something similar. It was on the edge between woodland and moorland, in deep moss/grass/leaf-litter, with Heather, Willow, Birch, Bracken and Purple Moor-grass all nearby.
Flowers in the woodland were almost non-existent; I only noticed this one Meadow Buttercup. There are a great many flowers still in bloom on the moorland, by contrast.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer