Cromwell Bottom

Cromwell Bottom


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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Fungi and Micro Fungi by Gordon Jackson

Hello again. I said I had a couple of more posts to put up and this one is about fungi, (apart from a small intruder at the end). The examples here were photographed in either Cromwell Bottom or Robber Dodge. They are all in the same post as they share something in common; they all attack trees, more precisely, dead or dying wood.

I've only become interested in them over the last few weeks. It's one of those things that once you see one for what it is, in this case a fungus, not a natural mark on the tree, you begin to see others, all over the place. I started to wonder just how neglected the recording of them is because of their small size, or that they look like a smudge of bird lime. So, I now have a mission to search them out.

NOTE: I'm fairly certain that I've identified these fungi correctly (where named). If not, I'm hoping Colin will correct me. Any mistakes in identification, as always, are soley mine.

The first contender to step up is Meruliopsis Corium. Actually, Anne found this on some garden fencing we were throwing away. It forms rubbery, white to creamy-ochre encrusting patches, forming brackets at the edges. It can be found on dead twigs and branches. It's normally on hardwoods, especially Beech.

Meruliopsis Corium.

Meruliopsis Corium. (Note the ochre/yellow 
colour, which forms with age)

Next up is the Beechmast Candlesnuff (Xylaria carpophila). Charlie found this in the beechwood in Robber Dodge. To find it yorself, gently remove the top layers of leaf litter. The white tips of the fungi become black at maturity. Occurrence: Throughout the year, but mainly summer and autumn. Height: 2-5 cm. 

  Beechmast Candlesnuff (Xylaria carpophila)

Another fungus attacking dead Beech wood is Beech Woodwart (Hypoxylon fragiforme). There is another species of fungi which it can be confused with (Hypoxylon fuscum). I'm fairly certain it's H. fragiforme, because I found it in the Robber Dodge Beech wood.Therer isn't much else growing in the wood just there. H. fuscum prefers to grow on dead Hazel and Alder branches and twigs. Charlie said these were passed their best and would have been better six to eight weeks before I found them. It's not the greatest photo, but it's at least it's recorded here. I was leaning into a large, loose pile of felled twigs. At one point, the area I was leaning on collapsed and I though I would be injured. I told Charlie that in case I died, my favourite flowers were daffodils and he could have my Lumix G5 and lenses. The things you do for a photo! Colour: salmon-pink when young,darkening to muddy brown, then black with age. Diameter 05 - 1 cm.

Beech Woodwart (Hypoxylon fragiforme)

Here is another fungi preferring dead beech  twigs. Beech Barkspot (Diatrype disciformis). At first, I thought this was Beech Barkspot (Hypoxylon mammatum). Then I discovered that H. mammatum is very rare in Britain and rare in Europe. (Oh that I could find a rare specimen of something). There are two photos of it,. The first shows what a twig infected with it looks like, the second is a close-up shot of it. The stroma (fruting bodies) are covered with minute darker dots, (ostieoles) these are the pores in the reproductive bodies. Sometimes the stroma will fuse together. Colour: Grayish becoming black. Size: 0.5 to 3 cm. Occurrence: Throughout the year. Common.

 Beech Barkspot (Diatrype disciformis)

Beech Barkspot (Diatrype disciformis) Showing orioles

I really am not certain what the following fungi is. I thought is was a very dehydrated Hyphoderma Setigerum. Now, I'm not so sure. This one was in Cromwell Bottom, it would be better to see it after some rain. Still, I'm going to include it and hope someone knows what it is.

 Hyphoderma Setigerum? TBC

Whilst I'm on with fungi I don't know, (ha! out of the many scores of them I don't know) here is another one. I assumed it would be easy to ID as the stroma have quite a distinctive marking. All I can say is the fruit bodies are grayish-black and about 2 to 4 cm (not measured). Again, two shots, one from a distance, the other a close-up of one stroma.

No idea what this is

The markings look like pores 
for releasing the spores.

Now we have a nicely coloured one, Rosy Crust (Peniophora Incarnata). Again, this one prefers dead or dying wood, and will be found on the underside of attached branches. Habitat: Wood of all sorts, especially gorse. Season: All year but sporulating in late summer and autumn. Common: Britain and Europe. Two photos. I THINK the second one is the same fungus.

Rosy Crust (Peniophora Incarnata)

Rosy Crust (Peniophora Incarnata) Dehyrated. TBC

This one is well known, most people will probably have seen it on the leaves of Sycamore and Maple trees - the Tar Spot fungus (Rhytisma acerinum). They can be seen on fallen, dead leaves as well as ones still on the tree. It is a biotrophic parasite. The word biotrophic comes from the Greek: bios = life, trophy = feeding. The Tar Spot fungi pathogen develops a long term feeding relationship with the plant, rather than killing it.

Interestingly, before the Clean Air Act of Great Britain in 1956,  Sycamore trees didn't suffer from Tar Spot attacks. Once the air had been cleaned up by limiting the use of coal fires, Tar Spot took hold. The sulphur dioxide from coal smoke in the air had been acting as a disinfectant on the leaves, killing the fungus. So in this case, the Clean Air Act was not helpful, it did however save thousands of lives.
Apperance: Black, encrusted discs with a withered, or brain like texture. Size: 1  to 2 cm. Common: Throughout the year, sporulating in Spring.

Tar Spot (Rhytisma acerinum)

This following fungus is the brightest coloured, most attractive one in the post  - the Scarlet Elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca). This can be confused with the almost identical Ruby Elfcup (Sarcoscypha coccinea). In recent years Sarcoscypha austriaca has been more frequently recorded of the two red elfcup species in Britain and Ireland. Previously, Sarcoscypha coccinea was most the commonly recorded one.  The Scarlet Elfcup feeds on dead wood of deciduous trees, often among moss. It is fairly frequent and widespread across Britain and Ireland, especially in areas of high rainfall. The cups grow on small stems. This one was found at Cromwell Bottom. Height: 1 to 2 cm. Cup diameter: 2 to 7 cm.

Scarlet Elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca)

 Scarlet Elfcup (Sarcoscypha austriaca)
showing the hairy underside of the cups

And here is the intruder that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Charlie spotted this on a wall whilst I was taking a photo of a bryophyte. It's a caterpillar of the Common Footman moth (Eilema lurideola). Widespread in England and Wales, except in Scotland, where it is local, it is rare in the Isle of Man.You can clearly see the orange stripe down each side of it's body. As a moth, it has grayish fore wings and orange hind ones.The caterpillars feed on lichens. This caterpillar was about 2 cm long.

Common Footman moth caterpillar (Eilema lurideola) 

I always underestimate just how long a blog post will take to do. The cross referencing of data and photos takes a long time. Then there is the grammar and spell checking and making sure it all looks clear, easy to read and consistantly laid out. I started at 9:30 a.m. it's now 3:30 p.m. I was going to Huddersfield shopping but it's will have to wait until Friday now, as I have to start getting tea ready for Anne and I when she gets home from work. (Me being one of the idle rich). Such dedication to one's readers, I hope you appreciate it. *smile*.

Take care of yourselves until next time. Actually, take care of yourselves ALL the time. Gordon.


  1. Another very informative post Gordon A lot of thought and Time put into it and adds to out library of knowledge . I can add some of it onto the UK Wildlife site Great Stuff.

  2. Hi Colin, thank you. I'm very glad to be able to add to the knowledge base. I'll the pop the over to the UK wildlife site and see how your re-building of it is going on.

  3. Great little Post I have just re read it