Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


I suppose it's inevitable that if one concentrates on plants in one's immediate area, the same will come up over and over.

So it is, with Hart's Tongue Fern - Asplenium scolopendrium. I don't mind. I like it a lot and feel privileged to live somewhere where it grows out of the ground, out of walls and in drains!

This one is within a few feet of the tree we are following.

It's not the most beautiful of specimens - but all the Hart's Tongues in these woods are looking pretty tatty. It's not their 'moment'. But there's more to see than the whole plant.

Move in - a leaf.

Closer - and we see the signs of a Leaf Mining insect - in this case Chromatomyia scolopendri. If you are impressed that I know its name, I'd better make it clear my amateur status is intact. I was guided in this ID by members of Ispot. (A nudge to take a look at it if you haven't already!)

A couple of hundred yards away, we find a clump of Arum maculatum - except these, despite their name - are immaculate; their inky spots are missing. Still beautiful though.

And behind them, a short log with small, round fungi; the largest a little more than an inch across - Auricularia auricula-judae - Jew's Ear Fungus. (Often known as 'Jelly Ear' too.) Looking this up on the internet I find a suggestion that the name is a corruption of 'Judas' Ear'. Apparently there's a tradition that Judas hanged himself from an Elder Tree and this fungus is often found on elders. In this case it's on a piece of dead wood; probably sycamore. The individuals remind me of small, smooth, orange satellite dishes but I've seen others that are more crimped at the base so the inner shape is more ear-like.

The underside. Beautiful, eh?

Another couple of hundred yards and a large log, left here since a tree was felled more than a year ago. And, on it, long, thin ribbons of fungus, protruding about a quarter of an inch (and less . . . but maybe they will grow?) from the log.

Close up.

And  out of the woods, exposed to the winds and sea air (and, incidentally, on an elder tree) - Common Orange Lichen (Xanthoria parietina ).

Close up.

It's good to walk through the woods - and these are easily accessible. What's more, everything in this post is within a twenty minute walk. It's good to look up and around, of course. And if you are in a hurry, that's what you will automatically do. But the longer you linger, the closer you look, there's much more than twenty minutes in the detail!


Mag said...

Splendid macros! Very much an ear! Beautiful lichen - that's my favourite!

Alan said...

Love the lichen photos!

Mark Willis said...

More people should take this sort of interest in their immediate surroundings! A superficial look often misses some things of great beauty - like those lichens.

Rowan said...

I have several elders in my garden and keep looking for Jew's Ear - I keep not finding it too! Oddly enough I was noticing all the beautiful mosses and lichens in the woods yesterday morning, they really repay a closer look. This is an interesting post

Plantaliscious said...

I love fungi, moss and lichen, though rarely manage to take decent photos of them. Love the macros of the leaf miner's progress. I'm longing for a couple of dry days - we have some wonderful woods nearby, but they are very boggy. Walking in them right now would be verging on the impossible, and would almost certainly lead to welly loss in the gloop!

Green Industry said...

Your post is such an informative post!! I really like your efforts..You did a great Job!:) keep it up!

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phyte club katie said...

Thanks for sharing all these wonders of nature that most people would likely just tromp over. Loving the alien lichen and the scarlet fungi--you can really see how these "mushrooms" are eating away at the logs. Very pretty!

leavesnbloom said...

I'm always looking around me for new and interesting things in nature though we don't have any arum or harts ferns growing wild here though I grow the fern in my japanese garden. Those lichen always remind me of moon craters. Have you found any rosa canina galls on your travels in the area? I'm watching one from last autumn and waiting for those little wasps to soon hatch out.

Anna said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post Lucy. I was Interested to read more about the 'Jew's Ear' fungus and how the name may have arisen. I came across this in my own garden last year ~ a most fascinating creation.

Forest Keeper said...

I'm glad to see some one so fascinated with all of the subtle details of what surrounds us.
Those long ribbons of fungi look like turkey tails to me. At least from the photo. Good in soups.

Lucy said...

Hello Mag - glad you see the 'earness' of the fungus.

Hello Alan - I enjoy taking photographs of lichen. It is pretty amazing to the naked eye but amplified by the camera lens it's extraordinariness and beauty is amplified and emphasised.

Hello Mark - one of the special things about rarely travelling a great distance from home, one has to look down and in detail rather than far away.

I'm glad you found the post interesting, Rowan. I was specially glad to find the Jelly Ear, not only because it is beautiful but because, until now, most of the fungi I've noticed round here have been autumn ones.

Hello Plantalicious. We haven't had rain for ages. (I'm writing this on 12th March.) If your area is the same as ours, I expect your woods are opening themselves up once more to exploration.

Thanks Green Industry.

Hello Blog reader with an http for a name (!). I'm glad you enjoyed your visit.

Hello Phyte Club Katie - Something which will interest me is whether these same fungi will be there next year.

I haven't noticed any galls on the wild roses, Leaves 'n Bloom but there were some on a nearby Turkey Oak last autumn. We'll have to see if they are there this year too.

Hello Anna. Were you pleased to see the fungus in your garden or, however pretty it is, did you regret its presence?

Hello Forest Keeper. I don't think these ribbons of fungus are Turkey Tails because they are very narrow and thin and have been that way for a while. Of course, they may have had a sudden spurt but do Turkey Tails not come with rounded edges?

Everyone - you may be interested to know I have just posted the latest post on Loose and Leafy

From Small Seeds