Posts Tagged ‘Fungi’

Rare Fungi

September 6, 2018

I found this on dead stems of Schoenoplectus lacustris (Common Club-rush) at Loch Lonachan last month:

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Fungus on Schoenoplectus lacustris

Bruce says it “seems to be the imperfect stage of Myriosclerotinia scirpicola.  This is rare and most interesting.”

The Crinodendron hookerianum (Chile Lantern Tree) at Dunvegan has leaf spots and these just may be new to science – they have certainly floored Bruce even after a literature search.

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Fungus on Crinodendron hookerianum

Seth has kindly agreed to get a specimen to Bruce who will send it to Kew.

Update: Bruce thinks it is Phyllosticta crinodendrin, apparently not previously recorded outside South America.

Thursday

September 2, 2018

On Thursday I joined Skye Nature Group’s excursion to look for fungi, though as usual we looked at other things as well. Near the Crinodendron hookerianum (Lantern Tree) we found a fairly mature Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress) and a Laburnum looking pretty sick with fungi growing out of it. This one is clearly not the hybrid as it had many seeds per pod and I think it is Laburnum alpinum (Scottish Laburnum). In an ideal world I will go back a bit earlier next season to make sure.

I also spotted Erica vagans (Cornish Heath):

There must be something about SNG meetings as it was at the very first one last October that we made the first localised record for this plant in the vice-county.

The fungi were many and various and Seth has written the visit up here. Here are just a couple to whet your appetite (or not):

Afterwards I went to the Knott area to check a few things and found Origanum vulgare (Wild Marjoram) – the herb sold as Oregano – by the roadside, obviously escaped or thrown out from a garden. I find it spreads rapidly by seed in my garden.

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Origanum vulgare (Wild Marjoram)

I took my grapnel to a nearby loch to find out what the pondweed was in the middle of it. Even from the shore back in June it was clearly not the usual Potamogeton polygonifolius (Bog Pondweed) or Potamogeton natans (Broad-leaved Pondweed). It turned out to be Potamogeton perfoliatus (Perfoliate Pondweed), so nothing exotic.

I also took a specimen of the Inula hookeri (Hooker’s Fleabane)to check whether it is actually I. orientalis (Georgian Fleabane) as Mike had pointed out that they are very similar. However, both his and my searches for glandular hairs have been inconclusive – the relevant key in Sell & Murrell being ambiguous. It may be possible to sort this out later from achenes.

Inula hookeri leaf edge, stem & involucral bracts

Inula hookeri leaf edge, stem & involucral bracts

Inula glands underside 3a

Inula glands underside of leaf     Image: M. Wilcox

Glenmore

September 2, 2018

Glenmore, south-west of Portree, is in a tetrad that needed more work so yesterday I had a go. The Glenmore River joins the Abhainn an Acha-leathain to form the River Snizort within the tetrad of interest and there is the roadside and an extensive area of bog, so even though it is now September I came away with 159 vascular plant records including Utricularia minor (Lesser Bladderwort) still in flower (or in flower again):

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Utricularia minor (Lesser Bladderwort)

This leaves 14 tetrads in VC104 that are >5% land but have fewer than 50 post-1999 records. A further 28 have 50 to 79. (“Land” includes freshwater bodies.)

Also, there was Pustula tragopogonis on Cirsium heterophyllum (Melancholy Thistle) which I have only seen once before:

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Pustula tragopogonis on Cirsium heterophyllum

 

Waternish

August 26, 2018

Geary Ravine is one of our riches botanical sites on Skye but yesterday I reached the top end of it and turned my back so as to record what looked like a seriously dull tetrad. At different times Carl (2006) and I (2012) had made a few records whilst passing through. We had amassed a total of 47 taxa.  The best bet to improve that score seemed to be to walk up the Abhainn a’ Ghlinne and indeed after half an hour I had added a further forty. Four hours later the taxa count was up to 111.

I also made a foray into NG26K to the south and at the top of Ben Geary I found Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow), new to NG26 and infected with Rhytisma salicinum (Willow Tarspot).

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Rhytisma salicinum on Ben Geary

Additionally, some leaves had clearly been browsed by something small:

salix herb grazed

Salix herbacea grazed

There were masses of Twin-Spot Carpet moths but most pleasing was a Common Lizard making use of the only piece of litter I saw to warm up:

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Common Lizard

It had clearly regrown its tail at some point.

I did quite well for invertebrate and fungus records, but nothing of great rarity.

Recent Insects and a Tar-spot Fungus

July 29, 2018

I’ve not been plant-hunting as such this last week but here are a few recent sightings:

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Dark Arches found in the house

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Map-winged Swift

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Barred Yellow

From Acer campestre (Field Maple), a planted specimen on Raasay, a flower bug:

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Anthocoris nemoralis, not the commoner A. nemorum

And from the top of Dun Caan, Raasay:

Willow Tarspot on Salix herbacea

Willow Tarspot on Salix herbacea

Glen Sligachan

July 6, 2018

Yesterday I walked well over 15 miles from Sligachan, south to Loch an Athain, up Meall Dearg, into Harta Corrie and back. This took me past the Bloody Stone, the site of a fierce encounter between the Macdonalds and the Macleods, the bodies of the slain being piled round the base of a huge rock, topped by a Rowan tree.

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The Bloody Stone

More peaceably, I added lots of plant records at low level to tetrads with small numbers of previous records – mostly the alpines that attract folks to the higher levels. That said, much of the Cuillin is not species-rich.

I spent too long diverting to Loch an Athain in order to improve the recent plant list for tetrad NG52B (higher level covered recently) and climbing Meall Dearg, so that my time in Harta Corrie was distinctly limited.  The climb up Meall Dearg was not useful in itself, the hill being devoid of interesting plants, though the views were good.

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Loch an Athain from Meall Dearg

However, the lochans to the southwest were lovely.  Harta Corrie is spectacular and deserves a dedicated visit; even after this visit the relevant tetrad taxon list stands at a mere 57 vascular plants.

It is certainly dry out there:

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Allt nam Fraoch-Choire

In passing I found the smut Anthracoidea karii on Carex echinata (Star Sedge) for the first time this year (in a new 10km square):

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Anthracoidea karii

and also spotted Claviceps purpurea (Ergot) on Anthoxanthum odoratum (Sweet Vernal-grass):

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Eilean nan Each

June 27, 2018

Eilean nan Each (Horse Island) lies off northwest Muck and sits conveniently within a single 1 km square of the National Grid. The island was visited in the 1938 by King’s College, University of Durham (now Newcastle University), in the 1960/70s by the Dobsons who lived on Muck and wrote a flora, by my predecessor as vice-county recorder C W Murray plus two colleagues in 1996 and also by N Taylor in 1996.

However, no records have been made since then until yesterday when I travelled with Nick (bryophytes), Bob (birds) and Roger & Pat (mammals). It is quite floristically rich with several orchid species. We found large numbers of Platanthera bifolia (Lesser Butterfly-orchid) including some pretty robust specimens.

 

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Platanthera bifolia (Lesser Butterfly-orchid)

and added Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid) to the island list

Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid)

Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid)

but failed to find the previously recorded Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid).

As on other small islands it seems to me that Greylag Geese are changing the vegetation as evidenced by the addition of plants like Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s-purse) and Matricaria discoidea (Pineappleweed) to the list.

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Capsella & Matricaria

As usual I recorded some rusts, galls and insects. We had a good selection of butterflies including Painted Ladies and I think this fungus on Caltha palustris (Marsh-marigold) may be Puccinia calthae, with few records on NBN and only one in VC104. I await Bruce’s verdict. Later: He says Puccinia calthicola. (No VC104 records on NBN).

Puccinia calthae maybe

Puccinia calthae maybe

This micro-moth, Keith tells me, is Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden Grass-Veneer).

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Garden Grass-Veneer

Boreraig & Creag an Daraich

June 7, 2018

I walked in from the east, parking at Heast. There were 1996 records of Eupatorium cannabinum (Hemp-agrimony), Saxifraga aizoides (Yellow Saxifrage) and Ulmus glabra (Wych Elm) from the Allt na Peighinn waterfall. They were all still present, as were Carex remota (Remote Sedge) and Geum urbanum (Wood Avens).

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Allt na Peighinn waterfall

Up on Creag an Daraich I refound Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle), though just over the border from the tetrad where it was recorded in 1998. I didn’t manage Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s-tongue), also 1998, but I ran out of time at that end of the trip having spent too long peering at things on the way.

Vulpia bromoides (Squirreltail Fescue) was plentiful on one of the old houses at Boreraig – and new to NG60.

I saw my first Six-spot Burnet imago of the year:

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Six-spot Burnet

my first definite Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary of the year:

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Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

this fly, which is probably Chrysopilus cristatus (Black Snipefly):

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Black Snipefly probably

and Phragmidium rosa-pimpinellifoliae on Rosa spinosissima:

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Phragmidium rosa-pimpinellifoliae

 

 

Bornesketaig and Fiskavaig

May 7, 2018

I have been chasing up records of plants that are known in particular 10km squares but have not been see there since before 2000. Near Bornesketaig I was after Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress) for NG37 but failed. However, I succeeded with Eriophorum vaginatum (Hare’s-tail Cottongrass) and Phalaris arundinacea (Reed Canary-grass). There really wasn’t a lot of suitable habitat for the former but the latter is all over the place at Camas Mòr – I must have just left it off the list on my previous visit.

Today I went after Nymphaea alba (White Water-lily) for NG33 near Fiskavaig. That was easy enough given previous record details and I was pleased to add Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) as new to NG33.

Two species of orchid were in flower:

as was Lathyrus linifolius (Bitter-vetch):

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Lathyrus linifolius (Bitter-vetch)

There were several lots of Heath Navel (Lichenomphalia umbellifera), one Palmate Newt in a puddle and lots of these small flies on the Ficaria verna subsp. fertilis (Lesser Celandine).

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Finding Old Hectad Records

April 22, 2018

If one analyses plant records for the vice-county by hectad (10km squares of the National Grid), there are a great many plants that have been found in the past but not since 1999 or earlier.

Some of these are errors and many offer no assistance in relocating them e.g. Carex sylvatica (Wood-sedge), NG45, 1950-2005.

A few days ago Roger sent me a record for Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) in Sleat and some images:

Arctostahylos (2)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry)    Image: R. Cottis

Previously, the only record for NG60 was a 1967 record at “Allt a’ Cham-aird, NG60”. Unfortunately, as the Allt a’ Cham-aird runs through two tetrads, it has not been possible to allocate a tetrad let alone a monad to this record. Now, with Roger’s record there is both a tetrad and a recent record.

Looking at the distribution map I realised that there were other hectads where a visit might have the same effect – in those cases where a location was given. I always forget that Arctostaphylos is a bit sporadic on Skye, as it is widespread on Raasay. So, on excursions in the past week I have re-found it in NG43 at the far NE corner (Allt Osglan, last recorded 1970) and at the southern edge (Allt Coire Darach, 1986). On the Allt Coire Darach excursion I also re-found Juniper from 1986.

Extending this approach to other species, I found Nymphaea alba (White Water-lily) in NG42 for the first time this millennium – not far from Sligachan. I intend to do this for NG33 next.

There are a great many more species I could approach this way… at least it is keeping me amused until the season is sufficiently advanced to make tetrad-bashing worthwhile. Also, it sends me to spots I haven’t visited before. It is the intermediate species in terms of frequency of occurrence that particularly benefit from this, as rare ones are monitored and common ones are, well, common.

NG42 has a particular problem in that there appear to be very large numbers of species not re-found, but I think this is the result of finds made on Skye but given no grid reference being dumped in this central hectad at some point in the past.

As a special treat here is some sheep dung:

Sheep dropping fungus

with Cheilymenia vitellina or C. fimicola (probably).

Close-up:

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