Summer Fungi

Hericium ericaeum (Lion’s Mane)

 

Recent weather has not been very good for finding fungi. Not only did only a few fungi appear but with the heavy downpours, I did not appear either.

Recent days have seen a marked improvement and things are starting to move.

Boletus luridiformis (Scarletina Bolete) appeared at Springwood Crematorium and Allerton Manor Golf Course. Both under beech. A fairly robust Bolete species, it has pores, not gills. The pores are reddish. When cut open the flesh quickly turns bright blue on exposure to air.

 

Boletus luridiformis (Scarletina Bolete)
Boletus luridiformis (Scarletina Bolete)

 

Hortiboletus species are similar but smaller. They have yellow pores that turn blue when bruised. There are a number of them that look the same on the outside but show various mixes of red, blue and orange when cut. This helps to identify the exact species. Hortiboletus engelii (Ruby Bolete) can appear anywhere. This was at Allerton Manor Golf Course. It is identified by the tiny orange spots at the base of the stem.

 

Hortiboletus engelii (Ruby Bolete)
Hortiboletus engelii (Ruby Bolete)

 

Leccinum duriusculum (Slate Bolete) is an early species and favours Poplar particularly Aspen, Populus tremula. This one reported from Huyton.

 

Leccinum duriusculum (Slate Bolete)
Leccinum duriusculum (Slate Bolete)

 

A group of Phallus impudicus (Stinkhorn) eggs have appeared in the Eric Hardy Reserve. This is a very interesting fungus. As the name suggests it grows in the shape of a phallus, the end of which is covered in a black substance that contains the spores. It smells of rotting meat. This attracts flies that land on the fungus and when they fly off the spores are stuck to them to be deposited elsewhere. Often hidden in the undergrowth, you will smell it but not necessarily find it. It fascinates me how this species has evolved such a complex shape and life style. The eggs are said to be edible. But would you? Honestly?

 

Phallus impudicus (Stinkhorn)
Phallus impudicus (Stinkhorn)

 

Pluteus cervinus (Deer Shield) always grows on wood. Fairly large, the colour comes in various brown shades to almost black. It can be identified by the gills. They are pink although this not always obvious when first examined. These were at Ainsdale National Nature Reserve.

A couple of Amanita species appear early after summer rain. Amanita rubescens, also at Ainsdale, is very common everywhere. Usually large, always some pink to be seen, a large frilly ring and bulbous  stem base.

 

Amanita rubescens
Amanita rubescens

 

Compare this to Amanita fulva, a more delicate species but no ring and a straight stem. It grows from a volva, the remains of the egg shaped ‘sac’ in which it developed in the soil. It grows with Birch, this one at Black Wood, Childwall.

 

Amanita fulva
Amanita fulva

 

A different kind of fungus that you only see after rain, is a Brain Fungus. The most colourful is Tremella mesenterica (Yellow Brain) seen at Freshfield on Gorse. When the weather is dry it dehydrates and becomes invisible. It grows on the remains of a crust fungus. You have to look hard to see that as well.

 

Tremella mesenterica
Tremella mesenterica (Yellow Brain)

 

Finally, a rarity appeared in a wood in south Liverpool. Hericium ericaeum (Lion’s Mane). This is in a hole under a fallen Beech. Usually a species of south and south west England, there are very few records for our region. The only I have seen previously was at Erddig. The official status is vulnerable. It is an edible species and is grown commercially. You can buy plugs to grow at home as a colleague of mine once did. I tried it on a holiday in China where it is popular as a medicinal fungus as well as an edible. Said to have a slight seafood taste. Lost on me. I found it tasteless and chewy. But what do I know?

Lions Mane
Hericium ericaeum (Lion’s Mane)

 

 

By Anthony Carter