The Hawthorn bush at the bottom of my garden is really showing up some oddities this year. I noticed some rust spotting, larger than the usual, on the upperside of the leaves on the main and secondary veins, and when I flipped them over this was underneath.
They were tricky to photo because of all the sticky out points, so I tried my hand at some photo stacking. The above images are made up of up to 3 stacks each, and could have done with more really. Difficult to do handheld, but possible.
This is the upperside of the leaf which looks like it has rusty pimple. So what do we have here? Well, it’s a plant gall, a fungi called Juniper Rust (Gymnosporangium sp.), and you may wonder what is it doing on Hawthorn?
It has a complicated lifecycle, beginning with Junipers, its main host. Fungus forms a ball on Junipers which produces a set of orange tentacle-like spore tubes called telial horns. These horns expand and have a jelly-like consistency when wet. The spores are released and travel on the wind until they infect the secondary hosts like Hawthorn where fungus produces tiny rust-like pimples on the leaves. It also infects the fruit, which grows tubes which carry the spores. The spores must then infect a Juniper to complete the life cycle.
This is an irregular resupinate fungus forming large spreading patches which is tightly attached to the substrate with waxy flesh which turns dark brown when dry and becomes brittle. I have shown close views in the first two images to show the fascinating structure of this fungi.
It is uncommon, and it is usually found on the the underside of fallen logs and branches of deciduous trees.
The Clustered Bonnet (Mycena inclinata) discovered on a rotting tree stump. Despite the potential lighting difficulties of photographing fungi … at least they don’t try and run away, and they don’t hardly move in the wind … I don’t really like to use flash on mushrooms as I much prefer the natural light. In manual mode, which is my preference, I may have to up the ISO a little which sometimes can risk noise creeping into the image, or drop down on the shutter speed, which may introduce camera shake hand held. Altering the aperture to suit the best situation also helps.Like all things in photography the challenge is to take control of the available light, and to find balance somewhere in between.
Also called the Lawyer’s Wig, this can be quite a large and impressive mushroom with a tall cap. When it opens up the cap and white gills gradually blacken and dissolve into black ink from the edge upwards to release its spores. Eventually the cap will melt away completely until only the stem remains.
Seen late summer to autumn, it is found solitary or in groups on grass, soil, and waste areas, especially where the ground has been disturbed.
One of my favourite shrooms with its firey orange shades and fibrous cap. Found growing on rotting logs and stumps in coniferous woodland and very occasionally also on hardwoods. It also grows on woodchips used as mulch.
Fairly common and widespread in Britain, it can be seen June to November.
If you could lift the edge of a woodland floor and roll it back like a carpet you would find a dense web of fungal mycelium. But peeling back a small strip of loose bark on a dead tree is a lot easier, but the pinciple is very similar. All the goodness is being drawn from the dead wood and then transformed into life boosting nutrients which the living plants and trees need to survive, and at the same time is sustaining the fungi. It is the perfect relationship, and a wonder of nature. All this goes on right under our feet 24/7, and most of us are not even aware of it. The web of life reaches out to us all, and sustains us, too.
Crystal Brain Fungus (Exidia nucleata) – To my intial eye and mind’s interpretation it looks like a jellied seal chilling out on a branch. But we don’t have jellied seals. do we? This was found on a small rotting twig, and it would shrivel to nothing but a rubber patch in dry weather, so you could hardly see it. It is a common wood-rotting species of jelly fungus found across Europe and North America. It also goes by the name of Granular Jelly Roll. Sounds yummy. Double-click on image if you want to zoom in closer.
Stump Puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme) There appeared to be hundreds of these tiny balls swarming over a mound of earth near the river. They are apparently feeding off a buried stump, and are usually seen in large numbers.
Not sure about this one. Might be Milking Bonnet (Mycena galopus), but did not want to snap it to see if it seeped milk or not. It seemed a shame to do so. Quite easy to miss on the woodland leaf carpet because it is so small … the bonnet about the size of a fingernail, yet the stem so tall and slender.
In June 2016 I began blogging here on WordPress, and I am so grateful to have been able to interact with so many wonderfully creative and talented people from all walks of life and from all over this amazing Blue World of ours. I would just like to say a big thank you to you all, for your generosity in all that you share and do to make this such an interesting and beautiful journey!
Because I love macro so much I am sharing some of my closest and most personal favourite photos … and why I choose a mushroom theme because it is a world we do not see everyday. To me it is a magical world, a fantasy world of the micro, almost like another dimension right under our feet. They can also be quite challenging worlds to capture, but the bigger the challenge the bigger the rewards. I do hope you enjoy fellow bloggers!
This quite an odd fungus. It is called Rusty Porecrust (Phellinus ferruginosus), and is a rusty-brown or gingery coloured, velvety resupinate. It is common and widespread, and found growing in irregular blobs on fallen branches and logs of deciduous trees.
November 2017, found on dead birch, local woods, Staffordshire, England.
I managed to capture at least one of these tiny, delicate Fairy Inkcap (Coprinusdisseminatus) shrooms before they all dissolved into an inky black goo on the side of the rotting tree stump they had sprung from. It is amazing what can happen within a few days in the natural world: Fruiting; spore release; dissolving. And how they change colour and form compared to my previous post.
November 2017, local wood, Staffordshire, England.