12 November 2014

Lismore, south end

A visit to an area where last year Kiki found some very special grassland fungi including Violet Coral and White Ballerina Waxcap.  I had long been looking forward to this, and it did not disappoint.  We had an amazing turnout of 17 people and we found a record total of 17 waxcap species.  We've been studying waxcap grasslands for 6 seasons now and our previous best was 15 species from any one site on any one day by LNHG or any of its members.

17 waxcaps in a single visit shows the site to be a prime example of long-established unimproved semi-natural grassland, a habitat which has declined drastically all over Europe, including much of the UK, but which is still plentiful in Argyll and the West Highlands.

Clavaria zollingeri

It didn't take us long to find the Violet Coral.  Being late in the season it was past its best, crinkling at the tips and with the violet colour faded to brown.  For some extraordinary reason the fungus has come out close to its original colour in my photos instead of the brown colour it had in the flesh.  The camera must have picked up a purplish hue that was invisible to the eye, but I've never before taken a photo of anything that looked brown and got this colour.  Not complaining!

Clavulinopsis fusiformis

Our Species of the Month, Golden Spindles, was much more elusive.  When we finally found it, there was this fine clump and many smaller ones scattered about in the grass nearby.

Clavaria fumosa

We also found a single clump of Smoky Spindles.

Hygrocybe psittacina

Not many waxcap photos were taken (it was always either raining or threatenint to rain), but I like Jan's atmospheric Parrot Waxcap in its slimy coat among the mosses.

Hygrocybe colemanniana, cap surface   Hygrocybe colemanniana, gills

The find of the day, if not the find of the year, was this Toasted Waxcap, found by Cynthia. The gills are very irregular for a waxcap.  Itís the first vice-county record of this species and the only record from anywhere in Argyll apart from one at Calgary, Mull, back in 1969.

Geoglossum fallax   Geoglossum fallax

Imagine combing acres of grassland for something the size of the earth-tongue in the left-hand picture.  We managed to spot a few, but there must have been many more that we missed.  Those we found were all either Geoglossum fallax or G umbratile, though I'm confident the island will have other species.  These two are both G fallax.  The second picture shows it in close-up, with its smooth black cap and its rough dark brown stem.

Clavulinopsis corniculata   Hygrocybe conica

The small knobbly clumps of Meadow Coral were a frequent find.  On the right is a Blackening Waxcap that I photographed because it looked like something more interesting.  They can be deceptive when they haven't yet begun to blacken, but the penny soon dropped.

Here is the complete list of fungi found on the day.

Fungi of unimproved grasslands

Clavaria fumosa
Clavaria zollingeri
Clavulinopsis corniculata
Clavulinopsis fusiformis
Clavulinopsis helvola
Cystoderma amianthinum
Entoloma conferendum
Geoglossum fallax
Geoglossum umbratile
Hygrocybe ceracea
Hygrocybe chlorophana
Hygrocybe coccinea
Hygrocybe colemanniana
Hygrocybe conica
Hygrocybe flavipes
Hygrocybe fornicata
Hygrocybe glutinipes
Hygrocybe insipida
Hygrocybe irrigata
Hygrocybe laeta
Hygrocybe pratensis
Hygrocybe psittacina
Hygrocybe punicea
Hygrocybe reidii
Hygrocybe russocoriacea
Hygrocybe virginea
Lycoperdon lividum
Smoky Spindles
Violet Coral
Meadow Coral
Golden Spindles
Yellow Club
Earthy Powdercap
Star Pinkgill
Black Earth-tongue
Shady Earth-tongue
Butter Waxcap
Golden Waxcap
Scarlet Waxcap
Toasted Waxcap
Blackening Waxcap
Yellow-foot Waxcap
Earthy Waxcap
Glutinous Waxcap
Spangle Waxcap
Slimy Waxcap
Heath Waxcap
Meadow Waxcap
Parrot Waxcap
Crimson Waxcap
Honey Waxcap
Cedarwood Waxcap
Snowy Waxcap
Grassland Puffball

Other fungi

Cordyceps militaris
Ganoderma australe
Panaeolus acuminatus
Psilocybe semilanceata
Stropharia semiglobata
Xylaria hypoxylon
Scarlet Caterpillar Club
Southern Bracket
Dewdrop Mottlegill
Liberty Cap
Dung Roundhead
Candlesnuff Fungus

There were also a couple that I collected but could not identify... (not to mention all those I rejected in the field as impossible!)

cf Omphalina sp   cf Coprinopsis sp

The intriguing parasol mushroom was one of a small group found by Liz on a soil bank.  It looks like an Omphalina species, but the cap centre is squamulose which doesn't fit any of the possible candidates.  I am not at all experienced with Omphalinas as I rarely see them.

The Ink-cap is probably a Coprinopsis species but its deliquescence was too far advanced to identify it by the time I got it home.  You need to have the book in the field with these!  It was near a small group of Hawthorns in the grassland, which also gave us Candlesnuff fungus on buried wood and Southern Bracket on a fallen trunk.

AICCT certificate

Our waxcap grassland project is supported by Argyll & The Isles Coast & Countryside Trust so I took a photo for AICCT of some of the participants each holding up a waxcap, with the certificate of our award.

More photos from this outing by wildlife photographer Philip Price can be seen here.  Click on the top photo and then, when it comes up on its own, mouse over it and a white arrow to the right will appear.  Keep clicking on this and you'll see them all.

Many thanks to Kiki for hosting the event and for discovering the site's fungal riches in the first place.

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