Grassland Fungi

Butter Waxcap

 

Late autumn to winter sees the appearance of a number of grassland fungi. They like nutrient poor and short grass. A bit of moss helps. If the grass gets too long or lots of thatch builds up, they disappear. Grassland grazed by sheep and rabbits up in the Pennines is the best habitat but we do not have much of this in north Merseyside so must rely on grass mowers. Waxcaps are very colourful and easy to spot.

 

One of the most common is Cupophyllus virgineus (Snowy Waxcap). It is completely white and was growing in large groups when I visited both Allerton and Ainsdale Cemeteries.

 

Cupophyllus virgineus (Snowy Waxcap)

 

Another frequent species is Gliophorus psittacinus (Parrot Waxcap), these on the north Lawn in front of Speke Hall, an excellent site for grassland fungi as long as you are there before the mowers which I was not. They turn yellow as they age but usually retain a bit of green on the gills.

 

Gliophorus psittacinus (Parrot Waxcap)

 

Hygrocybe coccinea (Scarlet Waxcap) was one of the species at All Saints’ churchyard, Childwall.

 

Hygrocybe coccinea (Scarlet Waxcap)

 

Whilst I discovered Cupophyllus pratensis (Meadow Waxcap) on the roadside grassland at Knowsley.

 

Cupophyllus pratensis (Meadow Waxcap)

 

Hygrocybe ceracea (Butter Waxcap) at Ravenmeols.

 

Hygrocybe ceracea (Butter Waxcap)

 

Hygrocybe conica (Blackening Waxcap) at Ainsdale where you can also find the sand dune version Hygrocybe conicoides. These turn black as they mature.

 

Hygrocybe conica (Blackening Waxcap)

 

Also look out for Club fungi, usually yellow or white so easy to see. Clavulinopsis helvola (Yellow Club) on the small lawn in front of Sudley Hall.

 

Clavulinopsis helvola (Yellow Club)

 

Clavulina rugosa (Wrinkled Club) at Allerton Tower and Calderstones Park.

 

Clavulina rugosa (Wrinkled Club)

 

Looking like tiny black lollipops are the Earthtongues. This one is Geoglossum fallax (Deceptive Earthtongue) from the front lawn of my next-door neighbour. They were also in Sainsbury’s car park at Woolton.

 

Geoglossum fallax (Deceptive Earthtongue)

 

No need to travel far. Your own lawn may have some surprises!

 

By Tony Carter