Archive for January, 2014

Dactylospora stygia

This is the smallest fruiting body I have ever tried to identify. I was looking at some yellow and translucent/white cup-shaped fruiting bodies that were less than 1 mm across, and took some samples home cut from the wood. When I looked at them they weren’t mature so didn’t have asci (cup-shaped fungi are ascomycetes which produce their spores in long thin structures called asci). Without asci I didn’t have a chance of identifying them. In the photos I saw

Dactylospora stygia, fbr 22.1.2014

Dactylospora stygia 29.1.2014

another blackish shallow disc shaped fruiting body of around 0.5mm diameter (less than half the size of a pinhead, I’ve been measuring pins to find out). I needed the blown up photos to see them. Ascofrance is a site that helps identify ascomycetes and the suggestion was it is a Dactylospora. I have been looking at this group to try to find a species. I think it is D. stygia. I am not 100% sure about the identification, but by a process of eliminating the species in the group that  don’t match what I am finding, this is where I have ended up.

Dactylospora stygia 22.1.2014 Asci containing spores

The Dactylospora are one of the fungi with some species always growing in association with specific algae in the form of lichen. This one is not one of those. It has a spore with a single septum (dividing membrane) across the center of the spindle-shaped spore, and a couple of droplets on either side of the septum.

Link to species notes.


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January is genally a good month to look for fungus or slime molds in Abney. Cold weather removes available water for the environment, and fungus and slime molds are dependant on water. Very often they produce all the calls they need for growth and then inflate them with water absorbed from the environment through the hidden hyphal network (a mesh of hair-like structures). The cold desiccates the fruiting bodies that emerge so that only the toughest or the best sheltered can function. The ground is very wet which adversely affects the hyphae, so that the majority of growth is on wood. In the following list, while not everything that is growing at the moment, is species found this January, all the asterisks denote wood growing species. Click on the links to see full notes on each species.

Auricularia auricular-judae, Ear Fungus *

Auricula mesenterica, Tripe Fungus *

Bjerkandera adusta, Smokey Bracket *

Botryobasidium aureum *

Byssommerulius corium, Netted Crust *

Byssomerulius corium 21.1.2014

Chondrostereum purpureum, Silver Leaf Disease *

Coprinellus micaceus. Glistening Ink Cap *

Cylindrobasidium leave (an encrusting fungus) *

Daldinia concentrica, King Alfred’s Cakes *

Flammulina velutipes, Velvet Shank *

Flammulina velutipes 20.1.2014

Ganoderma applanatum, Artist’s Bracket *

Ganoderma australe, Southern Bracket *

Hypomyces aurantius (needs old Polypores which grow on wood so *)

Kretzchmaria deusta, Brittle Cinder *

Lepista flaccida, Tawney Funnel Cap

Mycena speirea, Bark Bonnet Mycena *

Mycena speirea, 27.1.2014

Peziza vesiculosa, *

Phylloporia ribes *

Piptoporus betulinus, Razor Strop Fungus *

Pluteus romellii, Goldleaf Shield *

Rigidoporus ulmarius *

Scutellinia scutellata, Eyelash Fungus *

Stereum rugosum, Bleeding Broadleaf Crust *

Stereum hirsutum, Hairy Stereum *

Trametes versicolor, Turkeytail *

Tubaria conspersa, Felted Twiglet

Xylaria polymorpha, Dead Man’s Fungers *

Trichia decipiens. (a slime mold) *

Trichia decipiens 19.1.2014

All the January photos of fungi species are included in this Flickr File.

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I had a brief look round Abney Park over the last few days and the waterlogged conditions are catching a lot of people out. Wellingtons are definitely the order of the day. This is not just true for Abney though, such conditions are shared by much of the country. The clay soil and the hard-pan that runs across Abney below the upper surface soil, and is impervious to water, will always be difficult to drain. But maybe that is part of the conditions that have created this environment with all of its interest. A short conversation yesterday with some visitors, who thought it would be like an inner city park so came in the wrong footwear, led me to the conclusion that Abney needs to be seen in the same way as a country nature reserve. They wouldn’t have dreamed of going to an Essex (for example), country nature reserve in the shoes that they wore to come to Abney. Abney is like a small slice of country environment transplanted into the inner city in the winter warming conditions. That is what makes it so unique.

Glistening Ink Cap

So far most of the ground fungi have been swamped by the water, the exception being Tubaria conspersa, (there may be others about but a detailed survey takes a bit more time), but the wood fungi, the brackets etc, are up and active. The first Slime Mold of the year is Trichia decipiens. Slime molds are easily damaged by cold and

Trichia decipiens 19.1.2014

drying, and it is tucked into the recesses of dead wood, but it won’t last the first real chill. It is a continuation of what was happening in the autumn. There are queen bumble bees about feeding on the limited flowers available as in spring. The birds are going through the mating routines, the bulbs are becoming more active (a daffodil is out in Stoke Newington already, but not in Abney). It is as if last autumn is slipping quietly into spring so far.

Winter Flowering Heliotrope 19.1.2014

Link to photos of Fungi and Slime molds 2014

Link to photos of Abney Park Cemetery Jan 2014

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