As last year, the prolonged wet summer affected the fruiting of fungi. Some very common species were not seen at all, or in much reduced numbers compared to most years.
At Ffrwd Fen Reserve, Pembrey, a few of the rare Marsh Honey Fungus, Armillaria ectypa, were seen but all were standing in water. Fungi generally do not like to be waterlogged so it is possible this Armillaria has some mechanism to overcome these adverse conditions. One fruiting body (fb) was found at some distance from previous finds so a more extensive search of the fen might be worthwhile.
Several ‘fungus‐finding’ walks were held in the autumn. Although the number of fungi found was not high, there was a good representation of species, particularly at Pembrey Country Park on 11th Oct. Both Grey Knight, Tricholoma terreum and Girdled Knight, T. cingulatum were seen. The first is mycorrhizal with conifer and the second with Salix, but both may be associated with the flower Yellow Bird’s‐nest Monotropa hypopitys. Yellow Bird’s‐nest has been found in Pembrey Forest but it is not known which of these associations is involved although my guess would be the Salix/ T. cingulatum. Fine specimens of Pestle Puffball Lycoperdon excipuliformis were also present. There are many generic names for this in various books. The cup fungi were represented by a nice clump of Toad’s Ear Otidia bufonia. The cups of this group of fungi have a vertical split so, with a little imagination, are ‘ear’ shaped.
About 50 attended the joint meeting with the Wildlife Trust on 1st Nov 2008 at Pont Felin Gat. This woodland is managed by the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW), although not yet incorporated into the Garden. Thanks to NBGW for permission to foray here and to Bruce Langridge of the NBGW staff, for assistance. No outstanding fungi were found but a reasonable number of species were collected.
At the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Penclacwydd on 12th Oct only two fungi were recorded but one of these was the uncommon Moss Oysterling, Arrhenia acerosa. This fungus looks like a small Oyster mushroom but grows on the ground. There are just three Welsh records, two from North Wales and a 2007 collection from Pembrokeshire by David Harries.
The Ashpits Community Woodland, between Pwll and Burry Port, continues to produce nice fungi. In July the lovely goblet‐shaped Toothed Cup, Tarzetta cupularis were found in small clusters on bare ground. Alick Henrici at Kew helped me identify a small ‘oyster fungus’ shaped species on dead gorse that proved to be Hohenbuehelia atrocaerulea, which has no common name but a similar looking, but even less common species, is Woolly Oyster H. mastrucata. There are only two British records for H. atrocaerulea, the first
Hohenbuehelia atrocaerulea growing on gorse. Photos P.A. Jones
from Rutland in the 1800’s and the other from mid Wales in the 1930’s. Over several weeks, while dog walking, I noticed changes to these fungi which turned into a translucent jelly. It looked as if they had been taken over by another fungus. A jelly fungus, White Brain, Exidia thuretiana, was close to these so could be responsible but these are said not to be parasitic.
Late one afternoon I had a phone call from a family in Ferryside who wondered if they had unearthed truffles from the base of an old Oak. As it was a nice evening it was worth a visit to Ferryside for a fish and chip supper, calling at the house on the way. The fungi turned out to be Dead Man’s Fingers Xylaria polymorpha so I had to disappoint the family but as they kindly presented me with a bottle of wine it was worth the visit!