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Archive for January, 2011

Kretzschmaria deusta is a small encrusting growth that has a huge effect. It grows parasitically on trees, kills them and goes on to live on the dead wood. The summer growth is grey and flat surrounded by a white growing edge. The new spring growth, that is about at the moment, is smaller and so proportionately deeper with a shallower white edging, which gives it a bumpy appearence. The center of the growth is pale brown not the more mature grey. It is growing around the edges of last years growth, which is by now blackened and crumbly.

When I collected it on 25th Jan. the surface was dusted with grey. I couldn’t get to it immediately so left it in a plastic bag in damp kitched paper. On 27th Jan when I next looked at it the surface was dark grey with compacted conidiospores. These are asexually produced and very different from the summer spores that are produced in an asci. They are a lot smaller and seem not to have the center groove running along the length. In the Fungi of Switzerland text (Breitenbach and Kranzlin) the conidial spore production occurs in winter and spring.

Link to species notes

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2011

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This is a porous encrusting fungus, which is a fungus that grows only along surface of dead wood, but it does grow out in tiers and down from the outgrowth. It is just too small an outgrowth to be called a bracket. Most of the growth is downwards from the underside of structural ledges in the wood, eg crevices in the rotting underside of fallen trunks or hollows in a large log. Where the angle of the wood is too upright to allow just downward growth a very small shelving growth occurs for a narrow horizontal band. This outward growth has a light brown top surface, but is only for a few mms outwards. The downward growth progresses towards mature clumps of growth, with pores that evolve from rounded and separate to elongated and maze-like. The colour changes too, from initially white to cream/ocher with pinkish/ochre spots. The edges of the growth are minutely fringed (seen through a hand lens) and the edges of the pores are even more minutely fringed (seen through a microscope).

I have only found this once before and it was at a more mature stage of developement. This time I have found it just beginning and white, through to slightly older with the beginning of the tiers.

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Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2011

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This is a grey thin encrusting fungus that grows on dead wood. The type of wood is an indication of which species of Peniophora it is. On this occasion it is on ash wood, on a small twig. The surface of the growth follows quite closely the contours of the wood it is growing on. The fungal surface tends to crack, if through drying or age I don’t know.

Link to species notes.

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2011.

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It is not often that I can identify Necrtria. There are a lot of species that all look similar and it is down to the microscope to seperate out the species. This came back fairly clearly as N. coccinea. The round orange growth was in wet conditions and really caught the light on a grey day.

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Link to species notes

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2011.

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Despite the varying descriptions in the books I think I have pinned this down to the species. It is a litttle orangy/tan cap that dries out to a dull opaque cream. The edge shows radial striations when the cap is wet. The gills are moderately broadly spaced and a paler colour then the hydrated cap. The stem is the gills colour at the top but darkens as it gets to the base, the ring zone having lighter fibrous scales, the base having whitish fibrous growths attach the cap to woody debris in the ground near the surface.

I have found this in mid summer on the lowest fallen wood in wood piles, and now in the middle of winter growing on buried woody matter. The microscopic features do match up to the species in Funga Nordica and it does come out as this in the key, this is the species I am going with.

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Link to species notes.

Link to phtos of fungi and slime molds 2011.

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Abney has areas patch of these flowers that seems to be increasing in size each year. Without the frost damaging the leaf stems, it looks better this year then it has for a while.

Link to January photos of Abney Park 2011

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This is a medium sized bracket which glories in a truely appropriate common name. It is really a lumpy upper surface. It tends to have a green algal growth on the top, especially near the base. The growing edge is white-ish and sharp. Between the white edge and the green area it is a brown. The area of attachment to the dead wood is broad. The lower surface is pale, white-ish and pored. The pores are elongated directionally away from the area of attachment.

This is another species I didn’t find last year, but here it is today, and it hasn’t just arrived!

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Link to species notes

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2011

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I didn’t notice this last year, but it was about. Going through the birch trees today I found both fairly new (from last year) and some older brackets. The silver birch trees towards the Church street entrance have been in trouble from summer water shortages, and some are in the process of dying. It takes a long time for trees to die, and hopefully the rate of death will reduce, but once the trees die they tend to sprout these brackets up the trunk. As they collapse the wood continues to produce brackets. All of the brackets grow horizontal.

The upper side when fresh is white-ish and feels dry. The lower side is pored, cream when fesh and becoming grey-brown with age. The area of attachment can be quite broad, but it can be on a small stem.

Link to species notes

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2011

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Happy New Year to everyone. I spent the afternoon of New Year’s Day listening to Russell Miller’s now traditional walk round Abney and he held up a branch with this fungus on it. It had a black, sooty looking coating over the barkless patches. On many of these patches there were toothmarks. Russell explained these were the tooth marks of wood mice who eat the fungus, and even had a photo of the mouse in question.

Under the microscops, for the first time, I found the identifying fungus growth. This is something I have tried many times before and failed at miserably. There have been many occasions that others have pointed this out to me before, but as I haven’t actually prooved it to myself, I left it off the list. My apologies to all those who knew better. It was first seen in the beginning of the 1990’s and is attacking the sycamore trees in Abney, so is an important part of the balance of the envoronment. As such it is worth noting as being present.

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