We had an interesting and informative workshop on rusts and smuts on 7 May, with a brief description of their complicated lifecycles and an opportunity to look at a variety of specimens, including the smut on Cuckoo Pint / Lords & Ladies - Melanustilospora ari. This has been considered rare but with several recent finds, it may just have been overlooked. It causes black blotches on the leaves - but there are often black blotches on the leaves of this plant - but more tellingly it creates pustules on the undersurface of the leaf, see photo. So worth looking out for.
Fungus Identification Group
We are a local fungi recording group affiliated to the British Mycological Society. We have about 30 members with a wide range of experience and skills, but who share a particular interest in fungi and foraying for fungi.
Some of us have microscopes and reference books to help with identification, some like to photograph fungi and others prefer to enjoy looking at, and sometimes putting a name to, fungi in the field.
Although some of us enjoy eating fungi, as a group this is not our focus. We are also mindful that our forays are often on private land, having obtained permission from the land owner. In these cases picking for eating is often not allowed.
We are always pleased to see newcomers. If you ever wanted an answer to the question "What are fungi?", you couldn't come to a better group. Why not come along to a foray and see what we do? We are happy to welcome new members at all levels of expertise, including children accompanied by an adult. (But if you want to bring a dog, you should check with the leader beforehand.)
Thinking About Eating Fungi? Heed This Warning
There are many types of fungi which can be eaten safely, but there are also some extremely poisonous species. There is NO simple method by which poisonous species can be distinguished from edible ones.
It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that unfamiliar fungus specimens should NOT be eaten, unless they have been identified carefully and with absolute certainty by a competent mycologist. Even with familiar species it is important to ensure material is fresh and in good condition if it is to be eaten.
Six people including the leader, Kerry Robinson, were at this meeting, and they were accompanied by the assistant warden, John Rowley. It had been very dry beforehand, so the group concentrated on the damper areas near the ponds, where they found the rare asco-on-a-stalk Myriosclerotinia sulcatula (photo attached).
Our spring programme has now been added to the calendar bottom right (or scroll down if using phone or tablet).
We had a good haul of Pluteus species - Pluteus umbrosus (Velvet shield - photo from Alison), Pluteus luteovirens (Yellow shield - see next item), Pluteus cervinus (Deer shield) and Pluteus minutissimus aka P. podospileus (no common name yet)
Pseudoboletus parasiticus (Parasitic bolete) with Scleroderma citrinum (Common earthball); photo by Sharon.
We had a pleasant day for our meeting at Flitwick Moor on 18 September, with the ground not too dry, as is always the case at this site which is unusually damp for Beds. We saw several of the site specialities including Russula claroflava (Yellow swamp brittlegill - photo courtesy of Sharon) and Pseudoboletus parasiticus (Parasitic bolete) which although always found with Scleroderma citrinum (Common earthball) may not in fact be parasitic with it.
Overall a very enjoyable morning.
Members will already have received our autumn programme. It is now also on the website (click on the relevant date in the calendar bottom right). If you are a member of the newsgroup, you will receive a reminder before each meeting.
Our autumn programme is now finalised and is being sent out to members. I will be adding it to the website calendar in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile people tell me fungi have been popping up all over the place, although I haven't seen any, so hopefully this will be a good season.