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June 2018, near local pond, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.
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 (Coprinus disseminatus) 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.
Lifting a small fallen log yesterday, just off a woodland path, I found this growing on the underside. These long spiderweb-like white fibers are hyphae. This structure, as a whole, is the vegetative structure of fungi called the mycelium, and is what we see when we find a tomato in its decomposing state. It is typically found in soils and on other organic matter. If you could lift the corner of a forest or woodland floor like a carpet, you would find it matted and thriving there.
Fruiting fungi like mushrooms and toadstools produce spores, and these spores have the ability to turn into mycelium, which in turn manifest themselves as fruiting bodies after joining with another mycelium.
Mycelium come in different sizes, from microscopic to as large as a whole forest, and acts as one of nature’s important recyclers. It it amazing what lies just beneath our feet, a vast web of life which is essential to the health and well-being of the wood or forest, and in turn life on earth.
I came across this mushroom on the edge of a woodland path growing amongst rotting leaf litter. Notice the tiny white flecks on the cap which are fine scales and the remains of a thin, fine veil.
Photographs of Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus), taken December 2016, local woodland path, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
I always go and have a look at the old willow growing on the river bank. Its moss laden boughs host a lot of interest this time of year. I was astounded to find just how many of these tiny mushrooms were growing out of the moss, creating a most beautiful and magical display .
Photographs of Mycena pseudocorticola (top image) and Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), taken December 2016, local river bank , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
A fairly large mushroom with a cap of up to 12cm across, it is golden yellow or rusty brown covered in darker scales.
Found clustered on the dead wood of deciduous trees, especially tree trunks or logs. It is widespread but occasional.
Photographs of Golden Scalycap (Pholiota aurivella), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
When I came across these potato-like mushrooms in my local wood I couldn’t help but think of the scene from Alien when John Hurt found himself surrounded by numerous alien eggs. I only saw the one to start with, and I photographed it, and then looked around, my eyes now accustomed to the gloom in this part of the woods, and saw there were quite a few more scattered about and poking through the leaf-litter.
I am just really glad one didn’t crack open for something terrible to spring out into my face!
Photographs of Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
I came across clusters of this inkcap growing out the rotting base of an old tree trunk. The cap is covered in fine white mica-like scales or flecks. It grows up to 3cm across, begins egg-shaped then develops into a bell-like form. The gills begin white then turn black.
Seen May to November in clusters on decayed stumps and buried wood of deciduouis trees. Common and widespread throughout.
Photographs of Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Like a little, fine and delicate Japanese parasol, lost in a deep green jungle.
Photographs of Pleated Inkcap (Parasola plicatilis), taken October 2016, local roadside verge, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
A pale yellowish-beige scalycap, tinged greenish at the margin, covered in pointed scales. The cap is convex, then flattens out. It is greasy at first then dries out dull. The stem is a pale yellow-beige, becoming rusty coloured at the base. Cap width 3 to 8cm. Stem height 3 to 7cm.
Seen in autumn, found clustered on the decayed remains of deciduous trees, often seen growing out of the ground from buried wood. Common and widespread.
Photographs of Sticky Scalycap (Pholiota gummosa) taken October 2011, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.
This is a fairly large bracket fungi which I have seen singularly on Birch tree trunks or in tiers going quite high up the tree.
Sometimes called the ‘Razorstrop Fungus’ (so named for in the past it has been used as a strap to sharpen razors), it has a smooth leathery upper surface which is pale brown, whilst the rounded margin and underside is white. The underside is soft and spongy, and full of minute spores. Fruit body up to 25cm across.
Seen all year round in birch woods, and is the cause of death of many of these trees. Common and widespread.
Photographs of Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) taken October 2011, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.
Also called the ‘Common Yellow Russula’, this fairly distinctive mushroom has a yellow-ochre cap which grows up to 10cm in diameter. The gills and stem are a creamy white colour.
Seen August to November in broadleaved or coniferous woodland where the ground is well-drained and dry. One of the commonest of the brittlegills, it is common and widespread.
Photograph of Ochre Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
The morning sun is shining, the birds are singing from beyond high boughs, and fallen autumn leaves crunch under foot as I walk along the narrow, meandering woodland path. Beneath an aged Sweet Chestnut tree I spot such a magical minature world of wonder.
There is hardly any light, and what little light there is it is fairly diffuse beneath the canopy of woodland trees. And yet here they grow from the hollow of the tree, a world of fungi, this species named Sulphur Tuft.
Photographs of Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. ISO 800 to 1000. 1/50 sec. f/6.3. Compensated flash used. All hand-held.
I have been itching to get out into the woods all week to try to track down some fungi to photograph, but with work and the rapidly diminishing afternoon light it has not been possible until this afternoon. I ventured into a local Beech wood which I always enjoy walking through, and growing out of a fallen giant was this most beautiful Porcelain Fungus.
This is one of the great attractions of Beech woods in the autumn. Sometimes called the ‘Poached Egg Fungus’, the cap is slimy and translucent, giving the impression it is made out of porcelain. It is white or ivory in colour, greyish when young, and grows up to 10cm across The gills are white, and the slender stem has a prominent ring.
Found July to October in groups or clusters on dead or dying broadleaved trees, especially Beech. Common and widespread.
Photographs of Porcelain Fungus (Oudemansiella mucida), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
Also known as ‘The Ochre Bracket’, this is a smallish bracket fungus with a greyish white or cream colour, concentrically ringed brown, ochre, orange or rust tones. Finely downy to begin, then becoming smooth. Similar to Turkeytail (Trametes versicolor), except White-rot Fungus is smaller, thicker, paler, and lacks the blues and purples. Fruit body 5cm across.
Found all year round on the dead wood of deciduous trees. Widespread but uncommon.
Photographs of White-rot Fungus (Trametes ochracea) taken February 2012, local hedgerow on willow, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.
This grows to be quite a large species of mushroom, beginning with an egg-shaped cap expanding into a large flat cap with a large central umbo (bump). It has a pale-buff brown surface with radiating scales. Snake skin patternation on stem with moveable ring as it ages which is a distinguishing feature. Cap Width up to 30cm. Stem Height up to 30cm.
Seen ummer to late autumn, and found in woodland clearings, fields, meadows, roadsides and grassy hillsides. Frequent to common, and quite widespread.
Photographs of Parasol (Macrolepiota procera) taken August 2009, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire. © Pete Hillman 2009. Camera used Fuji FinePix S5800.
Quite a variable mushroom, the cap white or sometimes creamy yellow, and remaining in the button stage for quite a long period. The gills are deep pink, finally darkening to brown. The cap can grow up to 10cm across, and the stem up to 10cm tall.
It can be seen late summer to autumn. A familiar mushroom of pastures, particularly those grazed by cattle. Found clustered, sometimes massed, in grassland of all types. Widespread and fairly common.
Photograph of Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris), taken September 2016, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
This is a fairly large mushroom with a cap size of 5 to 20 cm in diameter. The cap has a dark umbo with recurved brown scales. The gills are free and white, and the smooth stem is whitish with a brownish tinge, the base bulbous. It has a thick, moveable double ring.
It can be seen summer to late autumn, in mixed woodland, roadsides and gardens. Frequent to common.
Photograph of Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes), taken September 2016, local wood , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.
I can’t help myself, but I just love getting close to the small things in life, the microcosmos. Although my eyes are not what they used to be, I am always thrilled and delighted to look at things from a different perspective. It is like peering into a different world.
I believe these two tiny closely entwined mushrooms are called the Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), and they were that small both of them could fit on a pinky fingernail. But the challenge was to get to them first. They were growing on the thick bough of an old willow near my local river bank, and I had to get through stinging nettles and Himalayan Balsams to get there. And because the willow bough was in shade the lighting was not going to be straight forward.
I mostly use aperture priority mode when taking macro subjects, and today I dabbled a bit more in the manual mode to give myself some better control of the camera. After all, these mushrooms were not going anywhere, unlike some subjects. It may have been easier to just use flash, but I felt it did not work so good, so I fiddled with the manual settings to try to get a reasonable balance of light and tone, to try and capture the right ambience of the moment, whilst tring to retain some detail in the subject. Tripods don’t really work for me, for I find them too restrictive, but with one elbow resting on the moss-covered willow bough I took quite a number of photographs. Most of which ended up in my PC’s recycle bin. I felt this one came out reasonably well to share here.
Photograph of Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), taken September 2016, local river bank , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. ISO 400. 1/60 sec. f/7.1.
This is a glimpse into the microcosmic world of lichen, moss and fungi. There is an old willow on the bank of my local river, with large boughs covered in a thick coat of this twisting moss called Cypress-leaved Plait-moss (Hypnum cupressiforme). From across a field you can see the moss clinging to the fissured bark of the old willow, but it is not until you get closer, right up close and personal that you see there is more there than meets the eye.
The delightfully named Trumpet Lichen (Cladonia fimbriata) is just poking through the twisting blanket of moss, and standing proudly above the moss and the lichen is a tiny, delicate and rather beautiful mushroom I believe is called the Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), which is just opening up to the dappled light of the world.
Photograph taken November 2011, by local river, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.
This is a pale inkcap, found often growing out of a mat of ginger-coloured mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus which is often hidden in the soil or other substrates). It is egg-shaped to begin, becoming bell-shaped or flatter and deeply grooved. It is cream coloured with an ochre centre, maturing dark grey. The cap is covered in a veil of white scales which soon disappear. The cap grow up to 3cm in height, and the stem up to 15cm tall. The gills are white to being with, then grey, eventually turning ink-black.
It fruits spring to summer, or when weather becomes milder. Found on the dead wood of deciduous trees. It is also sometimes found on burnt ground arising from buried wood. Uncommon but widespread.
Photograph of Firerug Inkcap (Coprinus domesticus) taken January 2012, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.
An obtusely conical fungi to begin, then expanding into a bell-shape. The cap grows up to 4cm in diameter, and is a matt, ochreous brown to cinnamon, drying yellow-brown. The stem is quite fragile, whitish with hints of the shade of the cap colour, and smooth or longitudinally striate. The stem grows up to 7cm tall.
It fruits summer to autumn. Found solitary or in clusters in grassland, parks and roadsides. Very common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
Photographs of Conocybe tenera taken September 2011, by local river, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.