For illustrated talks on natural history and history see www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for www.peterlovetttalks.co.uk

Friday, 20 November 2020

Fungi in a West Sussex ancient meadow and woodland



The steep meadow between the Worsley Memorial Recreation ground and New England Wood to the west of Cuckfield has been there since medieval times: in recent years grazed in summer by families of Galloway cattle.  As an ancient, presumably unimproved, meadow, closely grazed, it is rich in wax cap fungi.  https://www.plantlife.org.uk/application/files/6915/0460/9899/Waxcap_ID_guide_low_res_website.pdf expains the rarity of such meadows.  See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/20141021-colour-burst

Rather than misidentify the species seen today, simply click on the photo's to enlarge them and marvel at their intricate form and colours. 






Hygrocybe coccinea, Scarlet Waxcaps








This fairy ring, above was an estimated eight metres diameter.



New England Wood is beautifully managed and maintained by volunteers at https://cuckfieldwoodlanders.com/
The path edges are defined by logs, cut from the woodland, that produce a wide range of fungi as they decay.  And many paths are (almost) mud free due to deep layers of wood chips, which are wheelbarrowed to the worst muddy sections.
Birch Polypore









The turkeytail is a bracket fungus that forms semi-circular caps around tree trunks. The caps are thin and tough, with very clear, velvety, concentric rings of colour. Colours are variable mixes of brown, yellow, grey, purple, green and black, but the outer margin is always pale - either cream or white. The caps are often layered together, forming tiers.  Ref:https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/fungi/turkeytail






Above, Auricularia auricula-judae, known most commonly as Wood Ear (alternatively, black fungus, jelly ear, or by a number of other common names), is a species of edible Auriculariales fungus found worldwide. The fruiting body is distinguished by its noticeably ear-like shape and brown colouration; it grows upon wood, especially elder. Its specific epithet is derived from the belief that Judas Iscariot hanged himself from an elder tree; the common name "Judas's ear" was largely eclipsed by the corruption "Jew's ear", while today "wood ear", "jelly ear" and other names are preferred. The fungus can be found throughout the year in temperate regions worldwide, where it grows upon both dead and living wood.  Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auricularia_auricula-judae





Litchens are a symbiosis of at least two quite different organisms. The partnership always involves a fungus, which lives with one or more partners which can do photosynthesis. The photobiont partner may be a green algae and/or a cyanobacterium.  Ref: https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichen
There are numerous and spectacular litchens in this wood.








Is this an emerging inkcap?  Dificult to tell.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprinopsis_atramentaria

This tree wil have fallen in the 1987 hurricane.
In its decay it is host to lots of Common Puffball fungi.  Ref; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoperdon_perlatum











Pallid, petite, a tumour-fighter. Candlesnuff fungi may be small but they are a medical force to be reckoned with. They contain both anti-viral properties and compounds that are active against some human carcinomas.  Ref; https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/fungi-and-lichens/candlesnuff-fungus/   https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife-explorer/fungi/candlesnuff-fungus

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