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Archive for October, 2012

On Oct 7th I wrote a blog about finding an orange slime mold that was definitely a Dictydiaethalium species but didn’t quite fit with the description of D. plumbeum. I am delighted to say that David Mitchell (slime mold expert, not comedian) has let me know that it is definitely D. plumbeum. My caution in this case was unfounded. To see the original blog please click here. Thank you David.

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This slime mold is everywhere in Abney Park at the moment. There is scarcely a wet piece of wood anywhere that doesn’t have its own colony of these tiny round, sessile (no stalks) growths. I managed to get a photo of the elators, which are part of the internal structure, and so characteristic that it nails the identification. It has banding around the outer part, which is in the form of 2 spirals. They are fairly flat on one side and ridges on the other.

Link to species notes.

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2012

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Chlorophyllum rhacodes is a large, elegant, white cap with white, fibrous scales over the cap and dark brown to light brown scales breaking up with growth, especially towards the center. The essential part of the cap, from an identification point of view, is the ring on the stem. The outer part of the ring is double, the lower part is simpler and flopier, the upper part has a fringe of white pointed scales.

I have made a whole series of notes about this. It is an obvious cap which tends to grow in groups at the path edge this time of year. There have been a series of clustered groups flattened this year by someone visiting Abney Park on a daily basis, and who apparently thinks it is a good idea to deliberately tread on fungi in a nature reserve. Despite this I have gleaned enough information to be able to extend my notes to really pin down the formation of the ring during the various growth stages. There may be slight overkill in the notes now, but all the possible information about the species is there.

Link to species notes.

Link to photos of fungi and slime molds 2012

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Pluteus nanus

This was growing in a very wet, hollow, old stump. The wood was so rotten I picked it out with a piece of wood by pressure of my fingernails. The gills were in bad condition, and eventually I found one pleurocystidia (large cell on the gill surface that is big enough to be above the spore producing basidia). That one cell means it was Pluteus nanus. It is one of a wood feeding/decaying/recycling that is active in producing spores at this time of year. The cap is brown and through a hand lens it is venose in the middle and minutely bumpy elsewhere. It is the first time it has been identified in Abney park.

Link to species notes.

Link to phtos of Fungi and Slime molds 2012

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In all the time I have been looking round Abney not a year has gone by without Pluteus umbrosus growing. Not often does it look this good though. A superb specimen at the peak of its condition, just opened with a lovely white edge. I just wanted to share it with you. The pattern of the brown scales that sit with upright points on the cream background is particularly striking.

Link to species notes.

Link to fungi and slime mold photos for 2012

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Many years ago, when I had very little idea of what I was doing, (often still don’t), I came across a bright bubble gum pink patch on a branch. I thought it was bubble gum until I looked really closely. It had a series of bumps on it of uniform size. A couple of days later a fungus expert took a guided walk talking about fungus. He identified it as Dictydiaethalium plumbeum. The only surviving photo was from a day later and it wasn’t the vivid colour it had been. It slowly darkened until I couldn’t find it any more. When I was putting together the list of fungi and slime molds for this site I included that photo as a record that it was there once.

D. plumbeum is a slime mold. It begins life as a cluster of elongated shapes growing closely together. They merge to create the mass that I saw as a bright pink patch. The patch has a pseudocapillatum, technical stuff this, which is the remains of the original sporangium walls that have been submerged in the overall mass, but were originally the outside of the individual growths. The sporangium is the spore capsule. This pseudocapillatum is hexagonal with trailing fibers from each corner. This pseudocapillatum is what really distinguished Dictydiaethalium from the other divisions of slime mold. The bubble gum pink mass will have had a silvery edge on the wood, if I had known to look for it. It will also have had spores of roughly round shape and 8-10 microns across, with spines on their surface, and ochraceous or yellow  colour, if I had a microscope at the time to look a them.

Now I have found another slime mold. It also has the pseudocapillatum of hexagonal shape, so it comes into the Dictydiaethalium. It has individual growths that merge to a shallow mass that has a white-ish edge on the wood. It starts out a bright colour and darkens to brown. The spores are roughly round, but can be a bit long, and they have spines and they are ocher-ish in colour. It is still creating small patches, up to about 2 cms across and less than 1 mm deep.

Then there are differences. The colour is bright orangey red, not bubble gum pink. The individual growths are round before they merge together. The spore size is 15 to 19 microns long and 13 to 17 microns wide.

There are 3 other species in this group. In Bruce Ing’s group they are described in being closely similar, largely differing in spore colour, markings or size. This is definitely a different spore size so I don’t think it is D. plumbeum. And that is as far as I can get. There seems little information online about these other species and I have got stuck, so I’m adding it to my list as another species without naming it.

My notes are here.

The update is here.

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