Species of the Month - November 2011

Hazel Gloves

Hypocreopsis rhododendri

This iconic west coast fungus is at its best at this time of year.  When well-formed it is unmistakable.  If you find a scruffy one that you're not sure about, you will probably find a good one nearby.

Hazel Gloves is confined to long-standing hazel woods that have not been severely cut over or coppiced at any time.  It is rare on a world scale, a Red Data List and UKBAP priority species, and the west coast of Argyll is its heartland.  Our Oceanic climate has enabled hazel to become the climax vegetation in exposed places such as the Ballachuan wood on Seil.  These "Atlantic hazel woods" are sites of world importance for lichens, and the presence of Hazel Gloves is a good indication that you are in one of these special places.

More info at http://sites.google.com/site/scottishfungi/species-profiles/hypocreopsis-rhododendri

There is still a lot to learn about Hazel Gloves.  Recent research ( http://sites.google.com/site/scottishfungi/research/current-research-summaries/current-research/whatyouseeiswhatyougethazelglovesresearchnews ) suggests that it does not take any nutrients directly from the hazel, but feeds on the Glue Fungus (Hymenochaete corrugata) which does feed on the hazel.  So if you find Glue Fungus you may find Hazel Gloves with it, though many stands of hazel have the Glue Fungus without the Hazel Gloves.

Glue Fungus can spread from hazel to other nearby trees or bushes, and when it does so, Hazel Gloves can grow on these too.  But the vast majority of occurences are on hazel.

Records are welcome whether from known sites or new ones.  As the individual fruitbodies do not live long it is worth having up-to-date records to show how it's doing at a site.

Hypocreopsis rhododendri   Hypocreopsis rhododendri

Hazel Gloves is often grazed by slugs.  The LH pic shows the initial signs and the RH pic shows what it looks like when they've finished the job!

Hypocreopsis rhododendri   Hypocreopsis rhododendri   Hypocreopsis rhododendri

Hazel Gloves fungus at a previously unknown site on the 2009 lnhg visit to Glen Euchar.  In the centre picture Hazel Gloves is growing on a twig that's stuck to a branch by the Glue Fungus.  The third picture shows the same Hazel Gloves fruitbody in close-up.  Note the authentic glove effect at the bottom!

Hymenochaete corrugata   Hymenochaete corrugata

Glue Fungus, the food of Hazel Gloves.  Twigs stuck together by the glue (left) and a Glue Fungus fruitbody (right) which on close view is covered with tiny spines, visible under a lens.  It lies flat on the wood or wraps around a branch, and does not form "gloves".

Please send in your Hazel Gloves sightings using the form below.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Number of fruitbodies 
Host tree (usually hazel but not always) 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g habitat, condition of site 


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

29 Nov: On the lnhg midweek recording walk at Carnasserie, Alan Hawkins showed us some Hazel Gloves, in a wood that was also rich in lichens.  We saw 9 Hazel Gloves fruitbodies on 3 different hazels.  Here are Alan's photos.

Hypocreopsis rhododendri   Hypocreopsis rhododendri

The Hazel Gloves in this wood were originally discovered by Rosemary Neagle in Jan 2011

11 Dec: Judith Witts found a small patch of Hazel Gloves in a wood near Inveraray, a long way from any previously known site.

27 Dec: 5 fruitbodies found on a single hazel branch in Achnahullin wood, Seil, on lnhg midweek field trip.

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Oct 2011 - Small Tortoiseshell
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric
Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated