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!

Friday, 7 December 2012


Since there's no particular order in a wander, I might as well start with my favourite picture. It's of Candlesnuff Fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon).

Candlesnuff Fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon) on log showing different stages
Candlesnuff Fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon)
November 17th 2012

This year is the first time I'd come across it and it was so tiny (though my book says it can grow to 6cm high) it might easily have been missed. It was growing on a felled tree trunk. When I first saw it, I thought it might be 'Stagshorn Fungus' (Calocera) because some of the white tops look just like antlers - and it rang a bell. But, no, Candlesnuff - like little grey wicks with white ash left where the flame has been blown out. (The white 'ash', says, my book (*), is produced by asexual spores. It also says it's very widespread and very common. Apparently, it grows all year round but I've never noticed it before so I'm thinking of writing a book for myself in which it's described as 'incredibly rare' and 'a wonderful find' and things like that.)

A long time ago, in another part of the wood (14th November 2009) I came across what looked like burnt chestnuts on fallen twigs.
King Alfred's Cakes (Daldinia concentrica) at its 'burnt' looking stage
King Alfred's Cakes (Daldinia concentrica)
November 14th 2009

 I didn't, then, know what they were. I may now. (Slow cooking, this blog!) . . .

King Alfred's Cakes (Daldinia concentrica) on log with fallen autumn leaves beneath
King Alfred's Cakes (Daldinia concentrica)
November 17th 2012

If you have been reading Loose and Leafy over the last few years, you will know I give fungi new names. Not only do I find my names easier to remember than those invented by others, it means no-one will be tempted to use this blog as a sure and certain route to identifying them. So, for me, these are Continental Chocolates. But, it turns out they are really . . . King Alfred's Cakes (Daldinia concentrica)!

Sometimes, things are confusing. What is what?

Three lumps on bark of living beech.
Lumps on bark of living beech.
November 17th 2012

There were lots of these lumps on Beeches - on some trees more than others. As you can see, they seem to be pushing up, alien style, through the skin of the trunk. This picture was taken from the ground and the little lumps were at quite a distance from the lens but they are clear enough to get the idea. I'm assured these are not fungi and have been given the suggestion that beech bark damages easily so this is some kind of . . . of . . . something that gets in . . . a bacterium . .  ? I don't know. Whatever it it, it seems odd for there were masses of them and all in lines . . . how did apparently healthy trees get damaged to this degree?

What is probably a Ganoderma on the bark of a fallen/felled tree
Probably Ganoderma
November 17th 2012
It's a hard life, being an amateur and an ignoramus. This post would have appeared much sooner if it hadn't been for the next fungus..

The pink underside of hat is probably a Ganoderma on the bark of a fallen/felled tree
Probably Ganoderma
November 17th 2012
This specimen is about two inches from top to bottom and two inches across at its widest. Following my habit of giving things names, I thought it looks like a hoof. Lo and behold, there is a Hoof Fungus (also called Tinder Bracket because it's useful when lighting fires) so, naturally, I thought this must be it. However, when I looked it up, I had two problems. Hoof Fungus is more likely to be found in Scotland than in the south of England and, in the pictures I found, it has a cream underside whereas this one is pink. Which means, bother, it probably isn't a Hoof Fungus after all, even though it looks like one and is a Ganoderma instead. (There's more than one kind - but I'll leave that up in the air.)

This last picture (the one below) is of Lumpy Bracket (Trametes gibbosa).

Lumpy Bracket (Trametes gibbosa) with a fragment of lichen fallen on it
Lumpy Bracket (Trametes gibbosa)
November 17th 2012

The name of this fungus puzzles me. Masses of fungi are lumpy. I think 'Dragons Scales' might be a good name. Or maybe 'Grebe' fungus - because it seems to carry its offspring (or 'outcrops?) on its back. The green, by the way, is an algae - not the colour of the fungus. (And, if the focus seems odd - it's because I was concentrating on the tiny fragment of lichen.)

* * *
For the woods where these fungi grow,
see last week's post

If you need help identifying fungi - try Ispot (can't praise it enough)
You might enjoy browsing through The Beginners Guide to Some Common Types of Fungi
And Visual Fungi is a good site too.
Earthfast Imgages (Roger Butterfield's Photos)
Members of Facebook might like to take a look at the Dorset Mushroom Hunters Page


Mark Willis said...

I like the idea of giving the fungi your own name. The official ones are so complicated (and hard to pronounce if your Latin is a bit rusty!)

Toffeeapple said...

You do find some interesting things Lucy. It's much easier to recall your own names rather than the Latin, though I understand the need for those too.

Gardens at Waters East said...

Lucy, As always I enjoyed my visit today and learned more about fungi. The photos were good. Thanks. Jack

Diana of Elephants Eye said...

the lumps on the beech? Galls? From wasps?

sharon said...

tht green sure is pretty on the last one!!

Duxbury Ramblers said...

Excellent photos - love the candlesnuff one, we have found it all over the place this year. Funny thing is not much of the King Alfred's Cakes.

Down by the sea said...

What an amazing selection of fungi. I love the names you have given them!
Sarah x

Hollis said...

I think the names of macro fungi are much more fun than those of plants! -- whimsical, fairy tale stuff: toadstool, candlesnuff, Alfred's cakes, puffballs, birds nest, shaggy mane, stinkhorn, hen of the woods ...

raf said...

So happy to have found your delightful blogs of woodsy things, arts, stones and seasons and such. Your Continental Chocolates and Hoof Fungus work for me!

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

What amazing shots you have gotten, usually since fungi grow in darker spots they are hard to photograph.

Is that one really so green, oh I love it.


Donna said...

How wonderfully clever to name your fungi...I have been so interested in fungi and so I thank you for the website resources...you have some amazing ones there.

Mark Willis said...

five more to go... :)

Forest Keepers said...

I do like "dragon scales" quite a bit.
Curious about that Beech tree. Beech warts?
I'm interested to know what that is.

Rosie Nixon said...

Candlesnuff Fungus sounds like such a cool name. I've photographed that fungus before but not very well as it's so tiny. I never knew it's name but I don't think I'll forget it now.

Dorset.Mushroom.Hunters said...

Thank you for the link to my fungi page Lucy :-)
Cheers Mark (D.M.H)

Lucy said...


Hello Everyone! I'm not forgetting to reply. Well, I was forgetting . . . but now I won't . . . and will return!

Hope you are all having a great festive season.