Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Mon 6 Feb 2012 Ballachuan Hazelwood

A beautiful day, the best of the year so far, with a perceptible touch of warmth in the sun.

Pseudocyphellaria crocata


Leptogium brebissonii

The outing was meant to be a winter fungus foray, but inevitably we looked at lichens as well.  Here are Pseudocyphellaria crocata and Leptogium brebissonii.

Chromocyphella muscicola


Pyrenula macrospora

Our main target was the fungus Spring Hazelcups (Encoelia furfuracea), which we did not find.  The closest we came were these tiny upside-down cup fungi (or so we thought) found by Anna on moss on hazel, and it took me a long time to discover what they were.  They are actually a basidiomycete, not a cup fungus at all, and they are the right way up for dropping their spores as basidiomycetes do.  Their name is Chromocyphella muscicola.  There are only 65 British records for this species, one of which was at Ballachuan in 2003. has a page about basidiomycetes that resemble cup fungi, and features this species.

Young hazel poles at Ballachuan are always completely covered with crustose lichens, with no bare bark showing.  On this one most of the lichens are Pyrenula macrospora, which forms thick black lines where two thalli meet.

Hypoxylon fragiforme


Trametes pubescens

A fallen Beech yielded a good selection of wood-rotting fungi, though not all could be identified.  Extensive areas of the tree were covered in these black marbles of Hypoxylon fragiforme, the Beech Woodwart.  A more unusual find was the bracket fungus Pale Turkey Tails or Trametes pubescens.  Common Turkey Tails (T versicolor) was also present (not shown).

Datronia mollis


Exidia thuretiana

The Common Mazegill, Datronia mollis, and the White Brain Fungus, Exidia thuretiana, both on beech.

Collema fasciculare


Nectriopsis lecanodes on Lobaria virens

Back to lichens for these beautiful round cushions of Collema fasciculare, aka Octopus Suckers.  The pink blobs in the RH pic are a fungus, Nectriopsis lecanodes, that grows on a lichen, Lobaria virens, turning it brown.

Hymenochaete corrugata on Prunus spinosa


Hypocreopsis rhododendri on Prunus spinosa

The wood is famous for Hazel Gloves, which grows on the Glue Fungus, which grows on Hazel.  In the LH pic a Blackthorn is leaning against a Hazel, and in the centre of the pic on a vertical twig you can see the pinkish fruitbody of the Glue Fungus which has spread from the hazel to the blackthorn.

Hazel Gloves had followed the Glue Fungus onto the Blackthorn, as the RH pic shows.  The fruitbody has been grazed by slugs, and above it to the right is another dark and dead fruitbody.

Hypocreopsis rhododendri on Corylus avellana


Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis

Many of the Hazel Gloves finds were on fallen branches like this one, due to the December storms. Fortunately there were also plenty on standing branches, including many young fruitbodies, so the species is thriving in the wood.

Our return journey took us across damp grassland where the Goblet mushroom was found in several places.

Ballachuan sunset

Ballachuan sunset

Ballachuan moonrise

Ballachuan moonrise



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer