Posts Tagged ‘Fungi’

Off With a Bang

February 14, 2020

The square-bashing for Atlas 2020 is over but yesterday Neil, Seth and I took a walk along the River Chracaig in Portree and made a cracking start to the new year’s recording. We started with a look at some snowdrops Seth had found. As well as the standard Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop), as he had suspected there was also something else, which turned out to be G. plicatus subsp. plicatus (Pleated Snowdrop) and a hybrid swarm of G. x valentinei (G. nivalis x plicatus).

Galanthus plicatus

Galanthus plicatus ssp. plicatus (Confirmed by Aaron Davis at Kew)

Not long after that, we fell over a mature conifer which I am pretty sure is Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Red-cedar): Later: Confirmed by Matt Parratt (BSBI Conifer referee).

Cryptomeria japonica.jpg

Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese Red-cedar)

That makes three things new to VC104.

Additionally, we added Berberis darwinii (Darwin’s Barberry) and a crocus to the list for the 10 x 10km square NG44.  I think the crocus is Crocus verna but have asked for expert advice. Later: Brian Mathew (BSBI Crocus referee) says “….the C. vernus agg….. is now split into several. I am sure the Portree Crocus is a form of one of these, the variable C. neapolitanus (Ker Gawl.) Loisel.” So another new VC record – sort of, as I have previously recorded C. vernus and C. neapolitanus is what used to be C. vernus subsp. vernus.


Crocus neapolitanus

We added a further eight taxa that were new to the tetrad including Carex sylvatica (Wood-sedge) and Sanicula europaea (Sanicle).

We found this interesting fungus (Onygena equina) growing on a sheep horn – Neil had found it near here a few months ago:


Onygena equina

an Orange Ladybird

Orange Ladybird

Orange Ladybird

and a variety of other insects, fungi and lichens. Today the weather is back to gale force with no ferry running – and set to be that way for a few days – so no more excursions for now.

More Raasay News

December 4, 2019

A woodlouse found on the recent SNG outing turns out to be Philoscia affinis, a cryptic species only recorded in the UK in 2017 but likely to have been here for many a year as an undiscovered native. For now, this is the most northerly record on the planet.

Philoscia affinis

Philoscia affinis              Image N. Roberts

You can read much more about this here.

Whilst checking the only known duckweed site on Raasay a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a plant in that small garden pond that I thought was Ranunculus subgenus Batrachium i.e. a Water-crowfoot. I sent a couple of pictures to Chris Preston, aquatic plants expert, who agreed. Sadly neither he nor I can get it to the species level without flowers and late November is not the time to find those. The only accepted records for linear-leaved water-crowfoots in the vice-county are of Ranunculus trichophyllus (Thread-leaved Water-crowfoot) from Storr Lochs on Skye. The Raasay one may have been introduced with purchased pond plants.



Today I spotted this little fungus on a twig in the garden:

Fungus on twig

Fungus on twig

I am hoping that someone will advise as to what it is…..   Later: Looks like a Hymenoscyphus though the species would need more work. Thanks, Seth.

Loch Eadar dà Bhaile, Raasay

November 29, 2019

Seven members of Skye Nature Group circumnavigated (well, nearly) Loch Eadar dà Bhaile, the loch between the townships of Balachuirn and Balameanach on Wednesday. This is a rich loch where the vegetation is slowly covering the open water. We recorded 123 plants of which Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry), Hypericum androsaemum (Tutsan) and Sanicula europaea (Sanicle) were new to the monad (1km square). Additionally, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) was spotted (in large quantities) for the first time since the 1990s.

We started up a woodcock and found a newt – not in the loch – and the fungi were good, including Birch Jelly (Exidia repanda), Green Elfcup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens) (probably) and Pipe Club (Macrotyphula fistulosa var. contorta).

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Pipe Club Macrotyphula fistulosa

Macrotyphula fistulosa

Oh yes – and we inspected the 170m run of Crocosmia pottsii (Potts’ Montbretia) from Balameanach to the shore of Loch Eadar dà Bhaile that until this year had been recorded as Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora (Montbretia (C. aurea x pottsii)).

Crocosmia pottsii Balameanach

Crocosmia pottsii at Balameanach

Oak-related Matters

November 13, 2019

Having found Quercus cerris (Turkey Oak)  I thought I had better check for knopper galls on the local oaks of other species as Q. cerris is required for the completion of the life cycle of the gall wasp. It was only discovered in the north of Scotland in 2010 when it was found in Moray, but last year it was found on Skye.

However, like most years on Raasay, there were no acorns to be seen and so no knopper galls.  There were Common Spangle Galls caused by the cynipid wasp Neuroterus quercusbaccarum – a common thing but according to NBN not recorded from Raasay.

Spangle Galls

Spangle Galls

On a dead, fallen oak there was this fungus, False Turkey-tail or Hairy Curtain Crust (Stereum hirsutum). Thanks, Neil & Seth for id.

Winter is Coming

October 25, 2019

There was snow on the hills overnight.

Glamaig snow 191025a

Glamaig from the garden this morning

but I have just spotted an earthtongue in the “lawn”. It appears to be the Glutinous Earthtongue (Glutinoglossum glutinosum) but others are possible.

Glutinoglossum glutinosum

Glutinoglossum glutinosum (probably)

Bernisdale Woods

October 24, 2019

Today Skye Nature Group spent a few hours in Bernisdale Woods. We hope to have found a rare or at least seriously under-recorded woodlouse – but this requires close examination of a male, which we may or may not have captured. More in due course.

Amongst a variety of invertebrates and fungi were these photogenic ones:

Birch Shieldbug

Birch Shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus)

Rosenscheldia abundans

Rosenscheldia abundans on Prunella vulgaris (Selfheal)

Typhula erythropus

Typhula erythropus (Redleg Club)

There were already a high number of vascular plants recorded in the tetrad but we added 13 taxa to the tetrad list including Bromopsis ramosa (Hairy-brome), Cytisus scoparius (Broom), Fragaria vesca (Wild Strawberry), Geranium robertianum (Herb-Robert), Montia fontana (Blinks), Picea sitchensis (Sitka Spruce), Rumex acetosella (Sheep’s Sorrel), Sanicula europaea (Sanicle), Silene dioica (Red Campion), Tsuga heterophylla (Western Hemlock-spruce), Ulmus glabra (Wych Elm), Vicia cracca (Tufted Vetch) and re-found 1992 records for Castanea sativa (Sweet Chestnut) and Populus tremula (Aspen). Common species still unrecorded include Teucrium scorodonia (Wood Sage) and Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry/Blaeberry).

The Past Week

October 19, 2019

On Tuesday I set out to explore an area of the Red Cuillin that was new to me, south of Glamaig. It turned out to be a useful day with a new 10km square record for Empetrum nigrum subsp. hermaphroditum (Mountain Crowberry) and new tetrad records for things from the sublime…  Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow)…. to the ridiculous…. Juncus conglomeratus (Compact Rush).

There were still occasional flowers on quite a few species such as Erica cinerea (Bell Heather), Hypericum pulchrum (Slender St John’s-wort), Pinguicula lusitanica (Pale Butterwort), Potentilla erecta (Tormentil), Ranunculus acris (Meadow Buttercup), Succisa pratensis (Devil’s-bit Scabious), Scorzoneroides autumnalis (Autumn Hawkbit) and Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Cowberry).


Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Cowberry)

I have found V. vitis-idaea flowering late in the year on a previous occasion, though not this late.

On Friday Skye Nature Group went hunting for earthtongues in response to a request from Kew to try and find previously known sites for some rare ones. We found at least three types of black or almost black ones (scaly, slimy and furry – proper names after DNA work!) plus some others:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today I went to check up on Toetoe Valley on Raasay as I wanted a photo of Cortaderia richardii (Early Pampas-grass) for a poster I am presenting at the forthcoming Scottish Botanists’ Conference. All welcome! (But book now.)

Cortaderia richardii Raasay

Cortaderia richardii (Early Pampas-grass) on Raasay

Numbers have increased since I last counted them, as it spreads down the valley.


August 22, 2019

As Skye Nature Group, we went back to Dorothy’s croft at Tokavaig on Tuesday and added quite a few tetrad records to NG61A and B including Ilex x altaclerensis (Highclere Holly). Reputedly this hybrid was developed at Highclere Castle (Hampshire) in about 1835, by hybridising the Madeiran Ilex perado (grown in a greenhouse) with the local native Ilex aquifolium.

Whilst I have seen it in gardens locally, this was the first record in the wild for VC104 – thanks to Seth for spotting it. I suspect I have ignored it elsewhere on occasions.

Highclere Holly

Ilex x altaclerensis

There was Scutellaria minor (Lesser Skullcap) in wet woodland:

Scutellaria minor

Scutellaria minor

and lots of other nice things such as Artichoke Galls on oak caused by the wasp Andricus foecundatrix:

Artichoke Galls

Artichoke Galls

A tiny cup fungus on an oak leaf:

Cup Fungus on Oak

Cup Fungus on Oak

and dog vomit slime mould (Fuligo septica) or similar:

Slime Mould

Slime Mould

Honeysuckle Moth (Ypsolopha dentella), knocked out of a tree by Seth, looks to be new to the vice-county:

Honeysuckle Moth

Ypsolopha dentella


July 31, 2019

Five members of Skye Botany Group went to Hinnisdal yesterday and made over 230 records in NG35Y. Highlights were Rumex x hybridus (R. longifolius x obtusifolius) and Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Oak Fern).

Gymnocarpium dryopteris

Gymnocarpium dryopteris

We made the first record for Salix x multinervis (S. aurita x cinerea) in NG35. This is something that is almost certainly under-recorded on Skye.

We also spotted this attractive fungus, Panaeolus papilionaceus (Petticoat Mottlegill):

Panaeolus papilionaceus

The Week Just Gone

June 22, 2019

Last Saturday I headed across the Skye Bridge to help out with recording in the adjacent VC105 (W. Ross). Of relevance to my own patch was the finding of Veronica montana (Wood Speedwell) not far from Kyle in NG72 – it is not recorded in NG72 in VC104.

When I got home I broke my laptop. It failed whilst doing a System Restore and I couldn’t even open it in Safe Mode. To cut a long story short, I am now back in business with the same machine but I am trying to buy a new laptop (turns out to be more chaos!).

The upshot of all this is that whilst I have continued to get out and about, computer time has been dedicated to sorting this out rather than writing my blog.

So… back in VC104, fourteen member of Skye Botany Group went to Torrin on Tuesday and re-found Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine) amongst other nice things and added 13 taxa to the well-recorded tetrad NG52Q.

Rosa sherardii

Rosa sherardii (Sherard’s Downy-rose)

On Wednesday Seth, Neil and I went to Bay and Sgùrr a’ Bhàgh in search of an old record for Paris quadrifolia (Herb-paris). We failed on that but had an excellent day adding  Draba incana (Hoary Whitlowgrass) to the tetrad and finding daffodils on the top of a stack. Heaven knows who thought planting them there was a good idea.

Draba incana

Draba incana                   Photo: S Gibson (edited)

Yesterday I toured a number of sites in Trotternish and re-found Petasites hybridus (Butterbur) at Brogaig, last recorded in 1980 (not tricky given the details from the old record). The Carex diandra (Lesser Tussock-sedge) at Loch Cleat is flourishing. It is in large quantities in the marsh at the west end but also at intervals around the loch:

Carex diandra

I found this leaf-spot on Caltha palustris (Marsh-marigold) which I have only seen once before:

Ramularia calthae

There were large numbers of Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid) all over the place including road verges.

Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid)