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Archive for January, 2010

Before Christmas I came across an interesting little thing. There was a series of Daldinia concentrica (King Alfred’s Cakes or Cramp Balls), growing on a stump of an old ash tree. On the blackened old Daldinia were a series of orange rounds which looked fuzzy. A few weeks ago they hadn’t developed into anything that conformed to what I could find in my books, so I dried one covered Daldinia and sent it off to Kew. I am indebted to Dr. Spooner, Head of Mycology at Kew, for his identification. They turn out to be something that is unusual, an Ascomycete (these tend to be small fungi that grow their spores in a sac or ascus), with not many records of it growing in this country.

Acrostalagmus luteoalbus

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The snow had gone leaving mud. The birds were all singing again and robins in particular were fighting, defending territories ready for the breeding season.  They seemed to think spring was on its way. The fungi that had been frozen solid had defrosted and the Flammulina velutipes was producing white spores that stuck like paste to the wet surfaces of the cap below.

Defrosted Flammulina velutipes.

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The cemetery was beginning to thaw, but overnight the snow came down again. There are more photos in flickr.

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And then it settled. By Saturday 9th, the snow was on the ground and beginning to melt. It felt like Alpine weather. One fungus, Flammulina velutipes, otherwise known as Winter Fungus or Velvet Shank, was doing its thing growing with the snow settled on its top. It is one of the few fungi in Abney that thrives in the cold and is able to withstand being frozen.

Flamulina velutipes frozen solid and capped with snow.

The cemetery was wonderful yet again. There is an influx of birds into the area, redwing, fieldfare, along with song thrush and mistle thrush are now raiding the streets around the cemetery for the berries and let over fruits. The local blackbirds numbers have been swollen by the visitors.

It looks great though.

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1. It Snowed on Wednesday. It looked wonderful. All ages were hurling snowballs about, chatting to strangers and seemed happy with the world. It seems a shame this can’t last.A sat of photos is on flickr.

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