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Forays Reports 2017 (in reverse order)

Rainworth Heath foray report 2017

14 members turned out for this foray on a reasonably fine, if cool, morning. Although some members had visited the site before, this was the first time the NFG had held a foray here. The site is valuable as an example of lowland heath, a rare habitat in England these days. There is a mixture of grass heath, heather heath and woodland on acid sand, some fenced off. Another time we may try and get the gates to these areas opened for us.

The site is rich in fungi at this time of year and we recorded 65 species covering a wide range of genera (including a few species seen a few days before on a reconnaissance visit, but not seen on the foray day itself). There was much to interest us even if no rarities were recorded. Plenty of club fungi were found, bright yellow and very pretty in the grass and heather, all of them being Clavulinopsis helvola (Yellow Club). Marion found the always curious and attractive Cordyceps militaris (Scarlet Caterpillar Club), the unfortunate below-ground pupa still attached to it. John Brown collected Bisporella sulfurina (Sulphur Disco) on a dead brammble stem. These ascomycetes are clear yellow and tiny, but clustered together in numbers are conspicuous once spotted; they actually grow on old black pyrenomcete fungi rather than on the woody stem itself. Four waxcap species were recorded, the least common being Hygrocybe vitellina, a bright yellow fairly viscid species; and three Panaeolus species in the grassy parts.

Only three Russula species were recorded, most frequently Russula ochroleuca (Ochre Brittlegill). One Russula nitida (Purple Swamp Brittlegill) was seen by Richard [not in a swamp here]; while one Russula versicolor (Variable Brittlegill) was found by Arthur. The latter is so called in English for its varied cap colours: violaceous to vinaceous, shades of ochre or purplish-brown.

Richard saw Lactarius glyciosmus (Coconut Milkcap) smelling of fresh coconut, growing as usual with birch. Two other birch-associated species were Tricholoma fulva (Birch Knight) collected by Bernard and Cortinarius hemitrichus (Frosty Webcap) by Arthur. Arthur also found, just outside the reserve near a young pine, Suillus luteus (Slippery Jack), supposedly edible but I read somewhere once that the slime gives you the runs. Best left alone I think.

The most uncommon fungus was seen by Richard and me only, as it was recorded on a pre-foray walk a few days before. It was a group of three Galerina atkinsoniana, characterized by 2-spored basidia and pileocystidia on the cap cuticle. It has been recorded at 3 other sites in Notts.

Howard Williams


NFG foray report for Vicar Water CP on 10-9-2017

A good number of members and friends turned out for this 2nd foray of the season. The weather was cloudy with brighter intervals and a cool breeze blew,especially at the top of the restored pit heap. The rain held off for us though.

Almost at the start our party split into 2 groups, with Mike and Mary going straight up the steep path to the top; while Ann led the less adventurous or less fit to the top following the gradual contoured path. A respectable number of fungi were recorded, in excess of 40 species. Mike's party found a soggy soft bracket on a pine log, that had us all puzzled. It was dark from waterlogging. It is not surprising that we were baffled, as pine substrate is very rare for what proved later to be young fruitbodies of Fistulina hepatica, normally associated with oak or sweet chestnut. The CATE database contains only 2 other examples.

In Ann's group another common species on an unusual substrate was John's tiny pale cream, stalked ascomycetes: Cudoniella acicularis on a decaying bramble stem. It is usually associated with rotten oak stumps, but can be found on other hosts. Jean's keen eyes spotted 3 tiny (3mm) bright red ascomycetes clustered in mossy, wet sandy soil. This was Pulvinula convexella with records for only 4 other Notts sites and infrequent nationally; microscopically interesting for its large globose spores and paraphyses curved over at the tips.

A 2nd Notts record was Conocybe mesospora found in grass by Dorothy. Its small bulb at the stem base was a help in confirming the species: a good example of why you should never snap off the stem of a fungus when collecting. Russula brunneoviolacea was a 3rd Notts record found by Tony. At first we thought Russula atropurpurea, but the gills were a deep cream, almost yellow, and there was no fruity or 'stewed apple' smell. The cap, too, was more violet-brown than reddish purple.

Mary brought from the broad-leaf woodland area a middling sized, foxy-orange Cortinarius with whitish smooth stem and bulbous base. I took it back to see if I could identify it, without much hope, as this is a huge genus notoriously difficult to sort. It keyed out each time in the 3 books I used as Cortinarius firmus, but as this is not recognized as an authentic British species, I have recorded it as Cortinarius cf firmus (ie comparable to or seeming to be). In spite of their verdict of inauthenticity, the FRDBI database has 3 records listed, all dubious. As ours must be. Interesting though.

All the numerous Crepidotus species on sticks and twigs I was given were the common Crepidotus cesatii or its variant, Crepidotus var. subsphaerosporus. Other species of note were Marasmiellus vaillantii (Dorothy) and Entoloma sericeum (Ann).

Back in the car park by 12.15, and another successful foray complete.

Howard Williams


2nd Spring Foray - Spa Ponds NR Forest Town Mansfield 13th May 2017

This was a well attended foray with 12 NFG members and 8 members of The Friends of Spa Ponds present. For most of our members it was a first visit to this site and we all enjoyed a pleasant morning here. The ponds lie at the bottom of a steepish slope of mainly deciduous trees on one side and mixed pine and deciduous on the far side of the pools. The river Maun flows by within yards of the ponds and gives an added interest.

The weather had continued very dry with cool winds, so we were uncertain of finding anything very much at all, though the site's being naturally rather damp gave us some hope of records. We identified 21 species by the end, which is really not bad given the adverse weather conditions of the last 6 weeks or so. Of the larger fungi seen, the ones attracting most attention were probably Polyporus leptocephalus, Blackfoot Polypore; Polyporus brumalis, Winter Polypore on fallen twigs; the bracket Trametes ochraceous on birch branches and stump; and Fuscoporia ferruginosus, Rusty Porecrust on the underside of a fallen rotten branch. On bramble stems Kuehneola uredinis, Pale Bramble Rust, caught the attention with its bright golden yellow colour.

We became a bit scattered at one time, but some of us enjoyed (with a lens) the truly minute white cups of Micropodia pteridina swarming on the black base of a dead bracken stem; while easier to spot if you look for it was the very common Trochila ilicina, Holly Speckle, on old fallen holly leaves.

The most seldom recorded species was seen, alas, only by me on a decrepit oak leaf taken back for microscopy with the barbarous name Repetophragma goidonichii. It is a hyphomycete with cigar-shaped, 6-septate, pale brown conidia with transparent tips. A first Notts record apparently.

Howard Williams


Spring Foray at Idle Valley NR 23rd April 2017

Nine of us gathered in the car park at the Visitor Centre for this first foray of the year, including two guest visitors who proved to have keen eyes. The morning was sunny and reasonably warm despite a cool breeze. For weeks the weather had been dry, and with few exceptions, cold; so we were prepared to find very little. In the event we did rather well, the total (probably some 20-25 species) including a possible rarity, and a widespread fungus with only 10 Notts records for all that.

The potentially rare fungus and a possible RDL species was collected by Jean. It consisted of a number of tiny yellow rings with bright black centres on a fallen willow twig. These little 'eyes' stood out all the more for being on a dark, glossy, purple-brown bark - perhaps of Salix daphnoides or Salix purpurea. It has been found in the UK only in Norfolk, Scotland and Pembrokeshire and has no more than 38 records in total from these places. It may be Cryptomyces maximus, Willow Blister. However, as I could find no spores or conidia it is by no means a certain identification. I shall keep it warm and damp to see if in time it fruits.

The other striking fungus found this morning on a willow branch by Maureen was Polyporus tuberaster, Tuberous Polypore, of which we have just 10 Notts records. It is widespread from Scotland to Cornwall, but thin on the ground north and east of a line from Herefordshire to Hampshire. The Polypore looks like a mini version of Polyporus squamosus, but tends to have a central stem and a round cap with dark grey-black scales.

On St George's Day it was only fitting that we recorded Calocybe gambosa, St George's Mushroom, but just a few as yet. Two more early toadstools were Psathyrella spadiceogrisea, Spring Brittlestem (April) and Agrocybe praecox, Spring Fieldcap, the latter very mealy-tasting (Inge). John rooted around for the tiny delicate bells and cups of Calyptella capula on the buried base of an old umbellifer; and Will collected the dull pink-brown fruitbodies of Hypoxylon howeanum on a fallen hawthorn twig. This is not uncommon but was accompanied by yellow conidial outgrowths often present earlier in the year when it is said to be in the geniculosporium state. Our old loyal friend at this time of year did not fail us: Leptosphaeria acuta, Nettle Rash, on dead stinging nettle stems.

An enjoyable start to the season.

Howard Williams


Post scriptum (05/06/2017): I kept the possible Cryptomyces maximus mentioned above for several weeks, but found no change in growth or character, and no spores or other structures. This leads me to conclude that it is certainly not that species, or perhaps not a fungus at all. It seems most likely to be a bark feature or a vegetative growth on the bark. Had it been a fungus I would have expected not only the sort of developments mentioned, but also an increase in actual size. There was none of those things.

A disappointment but not a waste of time - you live and learn. HW.