15 February 2014
LNHG visit to Ballachuan Hazelwood
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.
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 has yellow spots and margins, and P
norvegica has white ones. Both on hazel.
The Frilly-fruited Jelly Lichen, Leptogium burgessii
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.
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.
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.
A better view of Pyrenula macrospora, a very common
colonist of young hazel poles. And something we've definitely not
before, Arthonia ilicina, a species of old oceanic woodlands, on holly.
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.
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
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.
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.
Hazel Woodwart on Hazel and Beech Woodwart on Beech
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.
A typical view in Ballachuan hazelwood. It's easy to get lost.
Several others were found that I could not identify.