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Fungi

If you visit the Green in the Autumn, you may have seen some of the colourful and fascinating fungi that are visible at this time of year. At the top of the list have to be the waxcap (Hygrocybe) fungi, which come in array of vivid colours and can be seen nestling like jewels, amongst the grass and moss. Often associated with waxcaps are the yellow spindle fairy clubs (Clavariaceae) and if you look very carefully, you may see some rather strange looking earth tongues (Geoglossaceae). These, along with the pink gill fungi (Entoloma), are collectively called CHEG species and make up an ecological habitat, often associated with ancient meadowland, known as a waxcap grassland. This is a very important habitat and one that is fast disappearing, through the use of modern agricultural methods. Consequently, the waxcap grassland species that grow on the Green are very important and we need to ensure that we manage the habitat correctly in order to conserve all of our CHEG species. Cattle grazing is probably the most important factor, as this allows the grass to be quite short and a moss layer to develop.

In addition to the waxcap grassland species, the Green also supports a number of other fungi, such as earthballs and fly agaric plus some other less easily identifiable species. I am no expert on fungi, so if you can identify some of the species shown below, then please contact the Trust and let us know!

Waxcaps (Hygrocybe) - H in CHEG

posted 19 Dec 2015, 02:51 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 5 Jan 2016, 09:19 ]

These colourful fungi can be found on the Green where the grass is short and there is a well-developed moss layer. They are called waxcaps, because, as the name suggests, they have a waxy appearance! They are quite small (2 -7 cm) and the species on the Green range in colour from white through to yellow, orange, red and green. Some have a classic "pixie hat" shape, whilst others are much flatter and confusingly, quite a few of the species change shape and colour as they get older! A number of useful keys are available that can help identify the different waxcap species, but you do need to look at them very carefully and I am certainly no expert!

Below are some of the waxcaps that we have on the Green. I am sure you will agree, that these fungi are enchanting and well worth seeking out in the Autumn.

waxcap fungi

Fairy Clubs (Clavarioid) - C in CHEG

posted 19 Dec 2015, 02:49 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 5 Jan 2016, 05:34 ]

When I first saw these fungi, a few years ago, I initially did a double take and questioned, are these really fungi? A little research confirmed that yes they are and I soon realised that there are a quite a few different species, which, to a non-expert like myself, are tricky to tell apart! They are quite small, between 2 - 4cm tall but their bright yellow colour is quite eye catching. They often grow in the same place as waxcaps, so next time you are admiring the waxcaps, take a minute just to look for some yellow spindles peeping through the grass.

Clavariod fungi (Fairy clubs)

Earthtongues (Geoglossaceae) - G in CHEG

posted 19 Dec 2015, 02:47 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 5 Jan 2016, 08:34 ]

Now these must be some of the weirdest fungi I have seen! From reading about waxcap grasslands, I knew that earth tongues were often found in a waxcap grassland, but I had never seen any. So I was thrilled when in late 2015, I found some of these fungi growing on the Green. These are VERY difficult to find, as they are small (2cm tall) black and blend in with the sward. However, as with most things, when you have seen one, then you start to see more! I am not sure which type of earth tongue we have, but it is certainly a great find!

Earth Tongue

Pinkgill (Entoloma) - E in CHEG

posted 19 Dec 2015, 02:45 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 4 Jan 2016, 09:06 ]

There are over 1000 species of pinkgill fungi and, as the name suggests they are characterised by having pink-coloured gills! They are quite difficult to identify to a species level and are also not that conspicuous, being a dullish brown or gray. In fact, whilst the Green does have some Entoloma species, I have failed to take any photographs of them - something I will have to rectify next year!

Other Fungi species

posted 19 Dec 2015, 02:32 by Jane Arnold   [ updated 5 Jan 2016, 09:22 ]

There are a number of other fungi that can be seen on the Green. They come in all shapes and sizes and some of these are shown below.

other fungi

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