Friday, 23 October 2015

So much more than a toadstool

One of my favourite things about fungi is that you just never know what could be hiding behind the next tree or lurking in the camouflage of the fallen leaves. While it's undoubtedly exciting to find a red spotted fly agaric, a massive parasol or a troop of clouded funnels, there's so much more to the world of fungi than the traditional toadstool. Trumpets, corals, clubs and even a tiny saddle are just a few of my more unusual discoveries from this week...

I've been back to see the fabulous black trumpets called Horn of Plenty that I originally found last week. They're still going strong and lots more have appeared in the last week. They're particularly hard to spot as they blend in so well with the leaves and look almost like black holes in the ground from a distance.  
Horn of plenty

Horn of plenty

Horn of plenty
Whilst I was crawling around on my hands and knees trying to get some photos, I noticed these tiny little trumpet chanterelles. They have brown trumpet shaped caps and distorted yellow stems. They're supposedly just as edible as the normal chanterelles, but I would rather see them in the woods than in a risotto!
Trumpet chanterelle

Trumpet chanterelle
This strange looking fungus is called an elfin saddle. It has a thick stem and black or grey distorted cap that forms a saddle shape (well sort of!). These were hiding in a small patch behind a fallen tree.

Elfin saddle

Elfin saddle - the cap varies from black to dark grey or brown
Coral fungus is beautiful and such a surprising thing to find. It really does look like coral, but it's in the woods instead of under the sea! This one is called crested coral.

Crested coral
Very similar to the crested coral, the wrinkled club is in the same family, but is much less branching and has blunt or flattened tips.
Wrinkled club
Yellow stagshorn and small stagshorn are bright yellow, rubbery antlers that grow out of dead wood.

Yellow stagshorn grows on the stumps of conifers

Small stagshorn - much smaller and usually not branching, it grows on the
trunks of fallen beech trees
Candlesnuff fungus is very common and found all year on dead wood. It gets its name from its resemblance to a burnt candlewick, with a black base and white powdery tip.
Candlsnuff fungus
Candlesnuff fungus growing all the way along a
fallen log
Finally, I believe this white fuzz is a type of slime mould called ceratiomyxa fruticulosa, or coral slime. If you look closely it's made up of white tubes in a star or rosette. From a distance it appeared to be almost blue.