Bluebells And The Birch

Bluebells

Another of my encounters on my walk through the local wood this morning. Along a narrow dirt path on the edge of the wood were carpets of bluebells. Passing one of my favourite trees, an established Silver Birch, I thought the sunlight was so beautiful through the trees as it illuminated hundreds of tiny bell-shaped blue petals.

May 2018, local wood, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Autumn Winds

Autumn Winds

Whilst out in the local beech woods on Sunday morning I wanted to try and capture not only the autumnal colours but also the movement of the leaves to express how windy these past days have been due to a storm system crossing the country. I used a slow camera speed to try an capture the flutter of leaves in the cool October wind. I know this kind of contradicts what we try and do in photography, which is to attempt to capture the world perfectly still, between bouts of wind, but I thought I would just run with it, go with the flow of the wind and see where it took me 🙂

October 2017, Staffordshire, England.

Turkey Oak

Quercus cerris

Turkey Oak Quercus cerris

A fast growing deciduos tree, this oak grows up to 30m (98ft) tall, and is a widely spreading specimen with long main branches rising from a relatively stout trunk. The bark is grey with fine, deep vertical fissures. The leaves are usually long and narrow, but sometimes long and ovate. The lobes are more pointed than Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur), and they are a darker green and shiny, but paler and woolly on the underside. The stalks are hairy and are about 2cm long. In the autumn the leaves turn a rich orange brown. The male flowers are pendulous catkins of crimson flowers. The acorns have no stalks, and they are long, the cups deep and mossy covered in narrow, greyish scales. The acorns ripen in the second year.

Turkey Oak Quercus cerris leaves

Mainly grown in parks and gardens, or alongside roads, but it is also found naturalised in woodland. It is fairly tolerant of different soil types, and is also quite resistant to atmospheric pollution. A native of southern Europe, the Turkey Oak was introduced and raised by J Luccomb, an Exeter nurseryman, in 1735. Today it is fairly common and widespread.

Turkey Oak Quercus cerris leaf

Turkey Oak Quercus cerris acorn


Turkey Oak (Quercus cerris), Bournemouth park, Dorset and Warley Woods, Staffordshire, England. August and September 2013.

Red Oak

Quercus rubra

Red Oak Quercus rubra autumn leaf

A broadly domed deciduous tree which can grow up to 35m (115ft) tall. It has straight branches radiating from a short trunk. The bark is smooth in younger trees and ridged when mature, and is silver-grey or brownish-grey in colour. The green deeply lobed leaves are large, ranging from 10-25 cm long, the stalks are around 2 cm long. The leaves turn a vibrant red in the autumn, although it can be of variable shading. Both sexes are on the same tree, the male catkins being yellow pendulous filaments, and the female flowers are inconspicuous ovals. The acorns are set in shallow cups.

Red Oak Quercus rubra autumn leaf fall

Planted as an ornamental in parks and gardens, and other urban settings for its autumn colours. Native to North America, introduced to Britain in 1724. Abundant in warmer climes, and naturalised occasionally.

Red Oak Quercus rubra leaves


Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Warley Woods, Staffordshire, England, November 2012 and June 2013.

Holm Oak

Quercus ilex

Holm Oak Quercus ilex

Also called ‘Holly Oak’  or ‘Evergreen Oak’, this oak is a dense evergreen tree with tough foliage which grows up to 20m (66ft) tall.  The crown is dense, dark and broadly domed, often on a short trunk with several ascending large branches. The bark is dark grey with shallow fissures, and in time is cracked into fine, square plates. New leaves unfold silvery white in June, but soon turn a dark glossy green with whitish-grey felt-like undersides. In younger trees the leaves are broad and elliptical, and are spiny like those of Holly (Ilex aquifolium), perhaps to prevent animal grazing. In older trees the leaves become longer, lance-like and without spines. Trees of an intermediate age possess both leaf types. The male flowers appear in the spring, and turn from green to a golden-yellow. The female flowers are tiny green clusters. Mature acorns are on very short stems, and are held in a scaly, felt-like cup. They are much smaller compared to the acorns of the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur).

Holm Oak Quercus ilex leaves

Planted mainly in milder climes and a shelter-belt tree in coastal areas for its ability to cope well with sea spray, but it is also found in cemeteries, large Victorian gardens, parks and sea-fronts, and has naturalised occasionally. A native tree of the Mediterranean region, and originally part of the ancient evergreen forests once extensive there, the Holm Oak has been planted in Britain for over 400 years, and is the most common of our evergreen oaks.

Holm Oak Quercus ilex trunk

 

Holm Oak Quercus ilex acorns


Holm Oak (Quercus ilex), Bournemouth seafront, Dorset, England. August 2012 and 2013.

Wood Anemone

Anemone nemorosa

Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa

An early spring flower of delicate white with 6-12 petals. The flowers only open fully in good light, and will follow the direction of the sun’s travel across the skies. The leaves are long-stalked, and deeply lobed.

Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa

It flowers March to June. The Wood Anemone forms spectacular drifts in deciduous woodland, meadows and hedgerows. Widespread and locally common.


May 2013, Wyre Forest, Worcestershire. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

The Snowdrop is amongst the earliest plants to flower in spring. Produced from bulbs, the flowers are a delicate virgin white, as the colour of snow, and the heads droop downwards, hence its vernacular name. Each flower has three spreading sepals, and three much shorter notched petals with a pale green marking. The leaves are basal, and strap-shaped.

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

It flowers February to March, often pushing its way through snow-covered ground. Found in damp woodland, scrub, shaded meadows, hedge banks, parks and churchyards. Most likely an introduced species, and widely cultivated for parks and gardens. Naturalised throughout the British Isles, but rare in Scotland.

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

February 2012, local wood, Staffordshire. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. © Pete Hillman 2012.

Hybrid Oak

Quercus x rosacea (= Q. petraea x Q. robur)

Hybrid Oak (Quercus x rosacea) leaves and acorn

The parents of this hybrid Quercus petraea and Quercus robur can be quite variable in themselves, and thus the resulting offspring Quercus x rosacea may also be fairly variable having varying strengths of its parents which can make identification somewhat confusing, even more so when these characteristics appear mixed as in some specimens. For example as in the length of the petioles (leaf stalks) and the peduncles (acorn stalks). It flowers May to June. It can grow up to a height of 25m (82ft).

Hybrid Oak (Quercus x rosacea) leaf

Found in woodland and parkland. First described in 1909, it is a native species which is found wherever both parents occur.


Photographs taken September 2013, nature reserve, Staffordshire. Camera Nikon Coolpix P500. © Pete Hillman 2013.

Sessile Oak

Quercus petraea

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea)

Also called the ‘Durmast Oak’, it is a sturdy deciduous tree, with long radiating branches around a taller more upright trunk compared to the Pedunculate Oak. It can grow up to height of 40m (131ft). The leaves have five to six lobes, and are dark green and hairless above, with yellow stalks 1-2.5cm long. They lack the auricles (earlike projections), which the Pedunculate Oak have at the base of the leaf. The acorns are long and egg-shaped, and are stalkless, fixed directly to the twig in small clusters. This oak maybe confused with the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur), which has acorns on stalks, and leaves with auricles and no stalks. The flowers appear as catkins in May and are seen through to mid-June. The Sessile Oak can live for up to and over 1,000 years.

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) leaf

Found in woodland and parkland, where it supports an abundance of wildlife. A native species which is common and widespread in western parts of Britain, especially Wales where it has been designated its national tree and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Welsh Oak’. It is called the ‘Cornish Oak’ in Cornwall, where it is also considered to be their national tree.

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) flowers

The Sessile Oak readily crosses with the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) to form Quercus x rosacea (= Q. petraea x Q. robur)  Bechst. This large hybrid oak tree is first described in 1909 and can be difficult to identify because of its variable nature.

Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) acorns

It used to be heavily coppiced for fuel and its bark was used for tanning. Also used in the making of barrels and casks.


Photographs taken May and September 2013, Warley Woods, Staffordshire. Camera Nikon Coolpix P500. © Pete Hillman 2013.

The Larder Is Now Empty

Sweet Chestnut kernal

Please click on images for full definition.

Photograph taken December 2016, local woodland, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

Frosty Morning

Frosty Morning

Please click on image for full definition.

Photograph taken December 2016, local woods, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Over Tree World

Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Photograph of Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), taken December 2016, local woods, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Golden Light On A Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

I love the way the afternoon lowering winter sun turns everything into a golden glow. On my walk this afternoon I heard the squirrels calling across the woods, then spotted this one bathed in gold.

Photograph of Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), taken December 2016, local woods, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Wood Ant

Formica Rufa

Wood Ant (Formica Rufa)

I remember the very first time I encountered these large ants. It was on a school camping trip back in 1976 at the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. I was fascinated not only by their size and colour, but by the huge anthills they had buit to house their colonies. This experience would stay with me into adulthood, and fuel my interest and fascination for the natural world.

Wood Ant (Formica Rufa)

Also called the ‘Red Wood Ant’, the ‘Southern Wood Ant’, or the ‘Horse Ant’, this is one of the UK’s largest species of ant. The workers are brownish-red and black. There are several similar species so one has to take care in identification. Length worker 8 to 10mm, queen 12mm.

Wood Ant (Formica Rufa)

They are most active during the summer months. This ant has no sting, but can shoot formic acid from its abdomen when threatened or disturbed. It can also bite fiercely. Wood Ants are omnivores, but with a preference for other insects and invertebrates, although they are mainly scavengers

Wood Ant (Formica Rufa)

Found mainly in coniferous woodland, building large nests from pine needles, grass and twigs. Widespread but localised in England and Wales, found mainly in the south and south-east of England. It is absent from Ireland and Scotland.

Photographs of Wood Ant (Formica Rufa), taken May 2013, Wyre Forest, Worcestershire. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Common Beech

Fagus sylvatica

Common Beech (Fagus sCommon Beech (Fagus sylvatica)ylvatica)This is one of my very favourite places to be, in a beech wood in autumn. The trees so tall and reaching for the sky, and the leaves as golden as the sun reflected off them are indeed a sight to behold.

common-beech-fagus-sylvatica-leaves-02

Also called the ‘European Beech’, these are immense deciduous trees which can grow up toa  height of 40m (131ft), and which provide one of the most beautiful autumn spectacles when its leaves turn a bright golden-yellow. They have broad, rounded crowns. These towering trees can have huge overhanging, arching boughs if given the space to grow. In closely wooded areas they will grow with columnar straight boles with few branches in a bid to reach the light. The bark is usually grey and smooth, but may also be ridged and rougher. The smoother bark holds centuries old ‘graffiti’, for it is soft and easy to carve into. The leaves are up to 10cm long, dark green and are oval and pointed, and give a beautiful show of autumn colours. The leaves take a long time to rot down and greatly improve the fertility of the soil, and often beech woods have thick carpets of leaves which hinders growth of other plants beneath, except for some orchids. The white flowers produce beechnuts (beechmast) enclosed in a prickly case, and are an important woodland food source for birds and mammals. It flowers from April to May, and fruits September to November. The Copper Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Atropunicea’),  is a mutation turning the leaves dark purple. Also compare the Fern-leaved Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’), which has very interesting deeply cut leaves. Beech trees can live for 300 years or more.

Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) leaves

Found in woodland, parks and large estates. A native species, it is common on chalky soils, and ranges south-east and mid England. Beeches can be giants, towering over other trees, and they can live up to 300 years and over. However, because of their heavy, bulky mass and because they tend to grow in weak structured, chalky soils, they suffer greatly from windfall in storms and high winds. The great storm of 1987 which swept across southern England bought down many thousands of mature trees. Once thought to have been bought over by the Romans, however pollen dating suggests they have been in Britain since the last ice age.

Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) leaves

The timber makes beautiful furniture, it is used for kitchen utensils like spoons, tool handles and tools, and sports equipment. It also makes an excellent fuel for burning, and is used to smoke herrings.

Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) beechmast

Photographs of Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica), taken November 2012, Warley Woods, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.

Robin Hood And The Oak

English Oak or Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur, The Major Oak, Nottingham Forest

I took these photographs of the Major Oak of Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, with an old pop in a roll of film camera back in the Easter of 1992. I thought this might be an interesting supplement to my previous post about the English Oak.

English Oak or Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur, The Major Oak, Nottingham Forest

Although the age of the tree is not accurate to estimate, but it is believed to be between 800 to 1,000 years old, hence the added supports from preventing the huge limbs of the oak from breaking off under their own weight and during stormy weather. It is a giant tree by all standards. It is estimated to weigh 23 tons, has a girth of 10 metres, and a height of 16 metres. It has a canopy spread of 28 metres. Its odd shape and giant size has led to specualtion that this may be several trees fused together when they were saplings.

English Oak or Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur, The Major Oak, Nottingham Forest

Legend has it that Robin Hood hid inside the hollow of the Major Oak whilst being persued by his enemies.

 

Pedunculate Oak

Quercus robur

Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur)

Also called ‘English Oak’ or ‘Common Oak’. When growing out in the open it can form a wide, tidy domed crown, but when growing amidst other trees in woodland it grows tall and slender. The leaves have deep irregular lobes and a short stalk or petiole. The familiar acorns are borne on long stalks or peduncles. It may possibly be confused with Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) which is predominately found in the west and north of Britain, but has longish leaf stalks and less deeply divided leaves, and the acorns are not borne on peduncles. The flower catkins show May to June, whilst the leaves also unfold in May. It grows from 15m to 25m (49ft to 82ft) tall). It can live up to and over 1,0000 years.

Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) leaf

This is the dominant tree to be found in deciduous woods in Britain. Also found in coppice woodland, hedgerows parkland and gardens. Native to the British Isles, and it is common and widespread, especially in the south-east of England and the Midlands.

Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) acorns

The English Oak supports more insect species than any other tree, and it is thought to be around 300 species. It also supports bird life and mammals. Grey Squirrels and Jays feed on the acorns as an essential food source in autumn and over the winter.

Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) male catkins

The Pedunculate Oak readily crosses with the Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) to form Quercus x rosacea (= Q. petraea x Q. robur) Bechst. This large hybrid oak tree is first described in 1909 and can be difficult to identify because of its variable nature.

The timber cut from oak has been extensively used by humans over the centuries, from boat building, timber-framed building construction, to furniture crafting and for smoking food. The oak has featured in numerous folklore and traditions since ancient times. It was and still is very much part of druid ceremony and it is believed the word druid may have meant ‘oak man’.

European Larch

Larix decidua

European Larch (Larix decidua)

Also called ‘Common Larch’, it is on of the few deciduous conifers to shed its needles in autumn and grow new fresh green foliage the following spring. It is a tall tree which can grow up to 45m (148ft), with a straight trunk from which graceful side branches grow which makes it look spire-like. The bark is rough and greyish brown, becoming fissured with age. The needles form small tight bunches of 30-40 each, each needle up to 3cm long. The light green foliage shows in April, gradually darkening through summer and then turns golden-brown in the autumn before falling in October. The male flowers are in small yellow clusters which produce masses of pollen in the spring. The female cones are bright red in spring and are called ‘larch roses’.  In maturity the cones harden and become egg-shaped and woody, green to begin with then turning brown in autumn. They are about 4cm long. I can take up to several years for all the seeds to be released, and they are equipped with a triangular wing which aids them to be blown by the wind some distance from the parent tree. European Larch can live for up to 600 years.

European Larch (Larix decidua) foliage

Planted for timber use in plantations, shelterbelts or as an ornamental in parks and gardens. Also widespread in forests. A very hardy tree and can tolerate harsh winter conditions, but needs plenty of water, so it does particularly well in Britain. Native to the mountains of central Europe, the Alps and Carpathian Mountains, and introduced to Britain in the 17th century. Common and widespread throughout. Rarely naturalised.

European Larch (Larix decidua) bark

Larch is fast-growing and makes a very tough and resilient timber for use outdoors, and it has been used extensively in construction work, mining, and in shipbuilding.

European Larch (Larix decidua) old cones

Photographs of European Larch (Larix decidua), taken October 2012 and September 2013, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012 & 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

Common Powderhorn

Cladonia coniocraea

Common Powderhorn (Cladonia coniocraea)

This is a vibrant green lichen when wet, but dull when dry. The podetia (stalk-like growths) are narrow and curved, and tapering to a point or a tiny cup. These can grow up to a height of 3cm.

Common Powderhorn (Cladonia coniocraea)

Found on mossy, decaying tree stumps. Common and widespread throughout.

Common Powderhorn (Cladonia coniocraea)

Photographs of Common Powderhorn (Cladonia coniocraea), taken April 2012 on rotting tree stump, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.

Land of Lilliput

Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes)

Sometimes when we see photographs it is hard to get a sense of scale of things. If it wasn’t for the moss in the above image we may be led to think that this is just an ordinary mushroom of sorts. Until you look at the image below of my little fingernail.

Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes)

The mushroom is out of fungus, I mean out of focus due to the depth of field, and I took the photo one-handed. A tripod would not have reached the height of the bough it was growing on. I roughly estimate that you could propably fit the tiny mushroom on my fingernail up to 50 times. To the right of my finger you can see some fruiting cup lichen and its leaves, which I hadn’t noticed at the time when taking the photograph.

Photographs of Iodine Bonnet (Mycena filopes), taken November 2016, local river bank , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Manual setting, hand-held. ISO 320. 1/160 sec. f/6.3.

Down But Not Quite Out

Autumn Leaves

These Sweet Chestnut leaves are now fallen but no less beautiful as they form a drift beneath the tree, catching the morning sunlight and accentuating their form and detail. They will gradually disappear over time as fungi break them down, or earthworms will tug them down into their subterranean burrows to use as food.

Like all living organisms, including ourselves, from nature they come, and back to nature they go.

Photograph taken November 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

On The Ground of The Beech Wood

Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) beech mast shell

Photograph of Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica) beech mast shell, taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Golden Scalycap

Pholiota aurivella

Golden Scalycap (Pholiota aurivella )

A fairly large mushroom with a cap of up to 12cm across, it is golden yellow or rusty brown covered in darker scales.

Golden Scalycap (Pholiota aurivella )

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.

Of This Good Earth

Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum)

Common Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum

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.

Common Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum

I am just really glad one didn’t crack open for something terrible to spring out into my face!

Common Earthball – Scleroderma citrinum

Photographs of Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Glistening Inkcap

Coprinellus micaceus

Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus)

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.

Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus)

Seen May to November in clusters on decayed stumps and buried wood of deciduouis trees. Common and widespread throughout.

Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus)

Photographs of Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus micaceus), taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Chestnuts In The Rain

sweet-chestnut-castanea-sativa-fruit

Photograph of Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) fruit taken October 2016, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. ISO 500. 1/80 sec. f/7.1.

Oak Mazegill

Daedalea quercina

Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina)

This has a semicircular or fan-shaped fruit body which is quite woody with a maze of gill-like ridges on the underside. This bracket is broadly attached to the substrate, and sometimes has a defined umbo. The upper surface is lumpy and warty, these often formed in concentric ridges with shades of grey, brown and buff, with paler margins. Fruit body 10 to 20cm across, 1 to 10cm thick.

Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina)

Seen from spring onwards. Found on the dead wood of oaks, which causes a brown rot which attacks the heartwood. Common and widespread.

Photographs of Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina) taken October 2011, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.

Birch Polypore

Piptoporus betulinus

Birch Polypore – Piptoporus betulinus

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.

Birch Polypore – Piptoporus betulinus

Seen all year round in birch woods, and is the cause of death of many of these trees. Common and widespread.

Birch Polypore – Piptoporus betulinus

Photographs of Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus) taken October 2011, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.

Ochre Brittlegill

Russula ochroleuca

Ochre Brittlegill (Russula ochroleuca)

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.

In The Dark of The Woods

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

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.

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

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.

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare)

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.