Archive for the ‘Fungus growth 2014’ Category

Botryobasidium aureum in carved recess, 28.8.2012

A sheltered section of a fallen tree trunk was carved by (I think) someone from the green woodworking group which is based in the front of Abney, led by the very able Joseph Bloor. (I have just seen Joe, and he tells me it was before his time in Abney that the shaping of the fallen wood happened). The newly carved contours allowed rain to sit in ridges of the carving which stayed wetter than the rest of the wood. This allowed the wood to absorb some of the water and allowed 2 fungi to grow through the wood. On the surface of the ridges an encrusting fungus, Botryobasidium aureum, began to produce spore structures.

The fungus softened the wood until it could be excavated by ants, who set about creating tunnels into the wood. These excavations allowed still more water to penetrate into the wood keeping it able to support fungi.

In August 2014, while the Botryobasidium aureum was beginning to fruit, (so had been in the wood for a while), a bracket of Rigidoporus ulmarius developed on the cut end of the trunk section. These brackets are slow-growing after their initial growth. That first emergence reminds me of the foam filler that fills cracks sold in DIY shops, odd bulges emerge out of cracks (preferably) or weak spots in dead wood or living trees. These brackets continue from year to year and look as if they will always be there. I took photos of this one as it changed.

1. Rigidoporus ulmarius, 14.8.2012

2. Rigidoporus ulmarius 28.8.2012

3. Rigidoporus ulmarius 17.9.2012

4. Rigidoporus ulmarius 22.10.2012

5. Rigidoporus ulmarius 19.5.2013

6. Rigidoporus ulmarius 10.8.2013

7. Rigidoporus ulmarius 20.10.2013

8. Rigidoporus ulmarius 26.2.2014

9. Rigidoporus ulmarius 6.4.2014







The white growing area initially covers the bracket (1 and 2). It slowly gives way to the usual brown upper surface and the pores form on the lower surface (3 and 4, 4 being the mature bracket). By 5 the bracket looks less healthy and algae is growing on the upper surface. By 6 the bracket has died and been replaced by another layer of growth on the underside which develops and expands for a while (7). The ant nest by the time photo 8 had been taken, had grown to have outlets on the same cut surface as the bracket, and shortly afterwards the Botryobasidium aureum began to grow round the bracket. It seems to have found a weak area of growth between the 2 growth phases as in 9 the new growth has fallen off.


The ant nest was healthy last autumn but I haven’t seen the ants so far this year.

This could all be the result of the wood carving.

Link to notes on Botryobasidium aureum.

Link to notes on Rigidoporus ulmarius.


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There is a fungus I have never heard any good of. Kretzschmaria deusta, or Brittle Cinder, grows as flat, small to medium patches on trees. The young patches are grey with a white edge, and as they get older they blacken and look like something that you might find left over once a wood fire has finished. The crumbly nature of the old fruiting bodies leads to the common name, Brittle Cinder. It degrades both lignin and cellulose, the two strengthening substances in wood, causing soft rots.

Young Common Rough Woodlouse colony

Stump with old Kretzschmaria deusta

I have now found old fruiting bodies loosely attached to an old stump providing an overwintering nursery for the Common Rough Woodlouse, Porcellio scaber. I accidentally knocked a piece off and it was full of them. They are crustaceans, in the same group as crabs, but a lot smaller and a lot more useful in a woodland. They eat dead vegetation, so are a member of the recycling fraternity. It is the first time I’ve found a good use for this fungus.

For more information on Kretzschmaria deusta my notes are here.

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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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