18 January 2014

LNHG field trip, Port Appin

As so often on our walks, the forecast was wet but the day was dry.  Not a lot to see at this time of year but with 9 pairs of eyes present I knew we would make some good finds, as well as having an enjoyable and scenic walk.

Port Appin woods

Not a yard into the woods and someone's already stopped to look at lichens.  Photo by Sallie.

Bunodophorum melanocarpum   Bunodophorum melanocarpum, apothecia

The lichen Bunodophoron melanocarpum, or Black-eyed Susan, growing on birch, found and photographed by Jan.  The black spore-masses are on the underside of the branch tips.

Sphaerophorus globosus

A related but much commoner lichen, Sphaerophorus globosus, also found and photographed by Jan.  This has round, often brownish, branches rather than the flatter ones of Bunodophoron.  The black spores are in spherical capsules at the branch ends.  In the photo these have not yet opened.

Hypotrachyna laevigata with apothecia

Hypotrachyna laevigata is extremely common on birch but its fruits are not.  There were plenty on this specimen, however, including some monster ones.

Unknown leprose lichen   Phlebia rufa

A mystery lichen found by Duri on a Birch trunk.  It's completely powdery, like Lepraria, but has large black apothecia.  I did wonder about Lecidella elaeochroma f. soralifera, but I canít make it that as it wonít turn orange with bleach and its spores arenít quite the right shape.  One day I'll know what it is.  On the right is the pink encrusting fungus Phlebia rufa on a Sycamore log, spotted by Jan.

Plagiothecium undulatum

Jan's photo of the pale moss Plagiothecium undulatum, which stood out wherever we went in the wood.

Tremella encephala   Cucurbitaria piceae

This pink jelly blob is a fearsome predator.  Spotted by Duri, it's called Pink Brain Fungus (Tremella encephala), and has enveloped a fruitbody of its favourite food, Bleeding Conifer Crust (Stereum sanguinolentum), which was innocently decomposing a fallen Larch twig.  So two records for the price of one there.  The predator was a first for VC98 but the prey was not.

On the right is an even more remarkable find.  Rob pointed out a Spruce tree covered in galled buds, each of which had these tiny cinder fungi growing on them.  I had no idea that any fungus of this type was a gall-causer, but we learn something new on each field trip.  It's called Cucurbitaria piceae.  There are only 7 previous British records for this fungus, none since 1974 and only one of them in Scotland.

Bryoria fuscescens

It was a surprise to find many of the larch trees at the tip of the headland wrapped in the wiry threads of Bryoria fuscescens, which normally tends to stay away from the west coast.  The blue stuff on the extreme right is an Usnea.

Rubha Clach Tholl

Sallie's photo of the view from our lunch spot.

List of fungi recorded on the walk
Latin English Host
Cucurbitaria piceae   Spruce (buds)
Exidia thuretiana White Brain Fungus Sycamore (cut surface of stump)
Phacidium multivalve   Holly (fallen leaves)
Phlebia rufa   Sycamore (cut end of log)
Piptoporus betulinus Birch Polypore Birch
Rhopographus filicinus   Bracken
Scleroderma citrinum Common Earthball Larch (on soil at base)
Stereum rugosum Bleeding Broadleaf Crust Birch
Stereum sanguinolentum Bleeding Conifer Crust Larch
Trametes versicolor Turkey Tails Sycamore (log)
Tremella encephala Pink Brain Fungus Stereum sanguinolentum
Tremella foliacea Leafy Brain Fungus Pine
Trochila ilicina Holly Speckle Holly (fallen leaves)

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All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer except where stated.  Some photos on this page are © Jan Hamilton or Sallie Jack.