• David Winnard

Fungi Sightings (May)

After the cold dry weather of April things have warmed up (slightly) and have been much wetter since the start of May. With that we have recorded some nice fungi species in the first 2 weeks of the month.

A visit to a small area of woodland close to Loggerheads on the Flintshire/Denbighshire border produced some lovely species and some good records. Entering the wood I was greeted to some Toothwort, a parasitic plant that grows on Hazel, this is a plant than indicates to me that I am in woodland where there should also be lots of Wood Anemone, and there was a species of smut fungus that I wanted to photograph which grows upon it.


It did not take me long to find the smut in question, Anemone Smut - Urocystis anemones, in fact it was on almost the first plant I looked at. There must have been over 10,000 plants in a smallish area, but only a handful had this smut. I noticed that some of the leaves of some plants were taller, paler and the underside had the hallmarks of a rust fungus. It was a scarce rust called Ochropsora ariae, which is listed as 'near threatened' in Rust Fungus Red Data List (2015).

Anemone Smut, Urocystis anemones

Ochropsora ariae





To complete the set of three species of fungi growing on Wood Anemone, I also found another rust fungus, Tranzschelia anemones, very distinctive and easy to pick out which leaves were infected. I tried my luck at finding yet another species of fungus that grows with Wood Anemone, called Anemone Cup, but my luck had run out, still I may pop back and have another look for it next week.

Whilst March and April were useless around here for Morels, there were around 6 in one of our usual haunts at the start of May. One of them, pictured below, was at least 21cm in height, and whilst all but one of the Morels we have found have been either very slug eaten or very soggy, this huge specimen more than made up for them. There has been a lot of goings on with Morels and the taxonomy recently, many of the former subspecies have been lumped with the Morel (Morchella esculenta).

Nearby to the Morels were a large number of Vinegar Cup (Helvella acetabulum), another spring species that in some years can be harder to find than others. Along with large amounts of St George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) and a few other rusts it has been a good start to May, let us hope it continues!