15 February 2014

LNHG visit to Ballachuan Hazelwood

Photos by Jan Hamilton, Cynthia Grindley and Carl Farmer.  Mouse over the photos for photo credits and other info.

Our prime objective was to look for Spring Hazelcups (Encoelia furfuracea) which we failed to find on our last expedition to Ballachuan.  We failed again this time.  I know they're in there.

Hypocreopsis rhododendri   Hypocreopsis rhododendri

We did, of course, find plenty of Ballachuan's main claim to fungal fame, Hazel Gloves.  They are looking more battered than usual after a stormy winter, possibly not due to direct weather effects but to slugs being more active in the mild wet days that have been the norm this year, compared to the dry frosty conditions of the last few winters.  The one in Jan's close-up on the right is in fairly good nick and has an interesting looking beetle on it which was not noticed at the time.

Pseudocyphellaria crocata   Pseudocyphellaria norvegica

Pseudocyphellaria crocata has yellow spots and margins, and P norvegica has white ones.  Both on hazel.

Leptogium burgessii

The Frilly-fruited Jelly Lichen, Leptogium burgessii

Leptogium coralloideum   Collema fasciculare

Two more jelly lichens, Leptogium coralloideum, all frills and no fruit, and Collema fasciculare, all fruit and no frills.

Thanks to Andy Acton for pointing out that the LH one is the rare L coralloideum and not the much commoner L brebissonii as I had assumed.

Graphis scripta

Nice pic by Jan of the common script lichen Graphis scripta, which was on all the hazels but is here on holly, whose bark blisters (or whatever they are) contribute to the effect.

Opegrapha vulgata   Opegrapha atra

Two more script lichens on young hazel poles.  Opegrapha vulgata (Dotty Script Lichen?) in the LH pic, with numerous black dots (pycnidia) among the "writing", on an orange-brown background.  Graphis scripta is to its left and Pyrenula laevigata to its right.  The RH pic shows the very densely marked Opegrapha atra (Scribble Lichen?).  Also in the photo are Pyrenula macrospora (green) and Pyrenula occidentalis (brown), and that is probably some Graphis scripta in the top left.

Pyrenula macrospora   Arthonia ilicina

A better view of Pyrenula macrospora, a very common colonist of young hazel poles.  And something we've definitely not featured before, Arthonia ilicina, a species of old oceanic woodlands, on holly.

Nectriopsis lecanodes   Dactylospora lobariella

Two fungi that grow on lichens.  The pink bobbles are Nectriopsis lecanodes on Lobaria virens, and the black dots in the second pic are Dactylospora lobariella on Lobaria pulmonaria.  In both cases the host lichen loses its colour and looks much the worse for wear.  In the bottom left corner of the second pic is a lobe of green L pulmonaria, not yet affected by the fungus.

Exidia plana

Old beech trees are found in the Ballachuan wood where they must have been planted long ago.  Their dead wood provides a feast of fungi at any time of year.  On one of the fallen branches, Jan found the jelly fungus Exidia plana, which I was very pleased to see, as it meant all 7 British Exidia species have now been recorded in the local area by LNHG members.  E plana is like the familiar Witches' Butter (E glandulosa) but its fruitbodies are wrinkled and coalesced.

Exidia glandulosa

Jan also found the common Witches' Butter on a fallen oak branch, for comparison.  The neat flat-topped hemispherical fruitbodies are totally different from those of E plana, yet microscopically the two species are identical.  E glandulosa is usually found on oak or hazel, and E plana on other trees including beech.  Both of them  have small pimples scattered over the upper surface.  If you find some without these pimples you are probably looking at the completely unrelated Bulgaria inquinans.

There has been much confusion over the names E glandulosa and E plana and different books describe them differently or merge them into one (under either name).  I follow the 2001 key by Exidia specialist Peter Roberts.

Exidia thuretiana   Tremella foliacea

Two more jelly fungi.  Exidia thuretiana (White Brain Fungus) found on a fallen beech twig by Cynthia, and Tremella foliacea (Leafy Brain Fungus) on hazel.  The main difference between Exidia and Tremella is that the former feeds directly on the dead wood while the latter is parasitic on another fungus or lichen.  Though here it appears to be growing on the lichen Lobaria virens, Tremella foliacea feeds only on Stereum fungi, and I think I can see a bit of Stereum rugosum near the bottom right corner.

Hypoxylon fuscum   Hypoxylon fragiforme

Hazel Woodwart on Hazel and Beech Woodwart on Beech

Nectria coccinea   Stereum hirsutum

More beech-rotting fungi.  Nectria coccinea bursting through the bark, and the very common Stereum hirsutum which Jan always manages to take a great photo of.

Parmeliella testacea

Back among the hazels and this is the so-called TCP lichen, Parmeliella testacea.  You have to rub a wet finger on it and then sniff the finger to get the antiseptic smell.  Warning: this effect also occurs with Parmeliella tryptophylla, Degelia atlantica and perhaps others.

P testacea can be told from the others because the blue-black hypothallus only protrudes round the edge to a limited extent (you can see a bit at the top of the pic) and the isidia that cover the surface are made up of tiny grains and are fairly compact, not notably cylindrical or branched.

  Unknown runny orange-brown substance on hazel

A mystery substance found by Cynthia on hazel.  One day someone out there will see this photo and write in saying "Pah! don't you know what that is?  It's..."

It smears like a slime mould, but won't produce sporocarps.  Contains sphaerocyst-like objects 30-40 x 20-5 mu, scattered among amorphous gunge and specks.  If you know, do tell.

Corylus avellana

A typical view in Ballachuan hazelwood.  It's easy to get lost.

List of (non-lichenised) fungi recorded in the wood on this visit, in the order in which they were found.
Latin English Host
Hymenochaete corrugata Glue Fungus Hazel
Stereum rugosum Bleeding Broadleaf Crust Hazel, Beech
Diatrypella favacea Hazel
Nectriopsis lecanodes on Lobaria virens on Hazel
Hypoxylon fuscum Hazel Woodwart Hazel
Hypoxylon fragiforme Beech Woodwart Beech
Stereum hirsutum Hairy Curtain Crust Beech
Hypocreopsis rhododendri Hazel Gloves on Hymenochaete corrugata on Hazel
Rhopographus filicinus Bracken
Dacrymyces stillatus Hazel
Pluteus cervinus Deer Shield Beech
Trametes versicolor Turkey Tails Beech
Xylaria hypoxylon Candlesnuff Beech
Oudemansiella mucida Poached Egg Fungus Beech
Exidia thuretiana White Brain Fungus Beech
Exidia plana Lumpy Witches' Butter Beech
Schizopora radula Beech
Gloeocystidiellum porosum Beech
Nectria coccinea Beech
Exidia glandulosa Black Witches' Butter Oak, Hazel
Dactylospora lobariella on Lobaria pulmonaria on Hazel
Trochila ilicina Holly Speckle Holly
Phacidium multivalve Holly
Tremella foliacea Leafy Brain Fungus on Stereum rugosum on Hazel

Several others were found that I could not identify.

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