Posts Tagged ‘Fungi’

Roadside Mud

September 7, 2017

On Tuesday, I toured quite a large part of Skye peering at muddy roadsides. My principal aim was to improve coverage for Centunculus minimus (Chaffweed) – so much easier than clambering along the rocky coasts that seem to be its natural habitat here. It seems to like the larger roads, perhaps because they get more salt, and is usually associated with Juncus bufonius (Toad Rush) and Gnaphalium uliginosum (Marsh Cudweed).

My Chaffweed Tour resulted in a record for one new 10 km square (NG62 in two sites) and records in two 10 km squares with no post-2000 records: NG33 and NG61.

In passing I made the first record in NG60 for Polygonum arenastrum (Equal-leaved Knotgrass). This is our common representative of the P. aviculare aggregate though P. aviculare sensu stricto does also occur. It likes ruderal habitats – tracks, field gates and muddy roadsides.

I intend to repeat the exercise next year in the northern parts of Skye I didn’t reach this week and where there are several 10 km squares with no records for Chaffweed.

I gave myself a little light relief and visited Tarskavig Bay, where I had last been in 2006, I had forgotten that it had nice things like Bolboschoenus maritimus (Sea Club-rush), Lycopus europaeus (Gypsywort) and Persicaria amphibia (Amphibious Bistort) as well as the locally very uncommon Artemisia vulgaris (Mugwort) (Six sites in VC104 post-1999). I was pleased to find Centaurium erythraea (Common Centaury) still in flower – another uncommon species on Skye.

In Tarskavig some Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting) has escaped from a garden. There are only two eariler records for this on Skye, one of which was within Lyndale House grounds, which feels a bit dodgy to me.

Anaphalis margaritacea

Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting)

I was checking more Calystegia (Bindweeds) and found some infected with the fungus Septoria convolvuli, which seems to be locally common.

Septoria convolvuli on calystegia sepium

Septoria convolvuli on Calystegia sepium

 

White Spindles

September 3, 2017

Returning to Coir an t-Seasgaich  for some bryophyte work with Nick, I spotted Clavaria fragilis (= Clavaria vermicularis) at about 500m.  This has a variety of common names: fairy fingers, white worm coral, or white spindles and I last saw it on Dun Caan, Raasay two years ago.

Clavaria fragilis

Clavaria fragilis

Maybe it should be called Bean Sprouts.

Two Additions

August 28, 2017

During my walk to Meall Port on Saturday I noticed two fungi on Cirsium heterophyllum (Melancholy Thistle). Bruce tells me one is rare on Cirsium:

Cirs het 1

Pustula tragopogonis

and the other, the rust Puccinia cnici-oleracei, is also uncommon:

Cirs het 2

Puccinia cnici-oleracei

Other Botanists’ Efforts

June 23, 2017

I have been away all week for family reasons but the great work continues…..

Nick has visited tetrad NG36Q near his home where there were only 11 previous records, all from before 2000.  He recorded 140 taxa yesterday, so that is one tetrad I do not have to worry about. He found Carex caryophyllea (Spring-sedge) which has rather few records on Skye and may be something for which I have a bit of a blind spot.

He also found what I think is Puccinia moliniae on Prunella vulgaris (Selfheal):

Puccinia moliniae on Prunella vulgaris

Puccinia moliniae on Prunella vulgaris Photo: N Hodgetts

P. moliniae.… guess the other host….

Also, Karen has sent me some nice pictures of the Saxifraga cespitosa (Tufted Saxifrage) and Woodsia alpina (Alpine Woodsia) from the Trotternish Ridge earlier in the month.

 

A Week on Muck

June 18, 2017

I have just spent a rather wet and windy week on Muck with the Inverness Botany Group. I decided to record on a monad (1 km square) basis as there are only 13 and none has 100% land. However, it spreads over four 10km squares, three of which have no other land in VC 104. We made over 1,800 records and as well as re-finding old records of many species, we added Carex extensa (Long-bracted Sedge), Carex limosa (Bog-sedge), Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle) and Valeriana officinalis (Common Valerian) to the Muck list.

Fumaria bastardii (Tall Ramping-fumitory), distinguished by its large flowers but small stipules, was a good find with only two previous sites (on Muck and Eigg) in VC104 and no record since 1999.

Fumaria bastardii Muck

Fumaria bastardii (Tall Ramping-fumitory)

Some Myriophyllum in  brackish pools led me to hope for M. spicatum for which there are no accepted records for VC 104, as this is the habitat in which it is found on Coll and Tiree and the Outer Isles.

However, the inflorescence being <3cm and the tip drooping in bud plus the basal whorl of flowers being in leaf-like pinnatisect bracts then others in pectinate bracts, tells me that it is the locally frequent M. alterniflorum.

Muck Myriophyllum 3

We also recorded a number of insects, mammals…..

The Belted Beauty has yet to be recorded on Skye.

Also fungi, some of which are awaiting identification….

Later: Bruce tells me the fungus on Silene flos-cuculi is Septoria lychnidis, or as NBN has it Caryophylloseptoria lychnidis, and that it is found on other members of the genus too.

Back Home

June 8, 2017

Bruce has identified this fungus on our Bay (Laurus nobilis) as Phomopsis lauri, which he says is surprisingly rare.

Laurus nobilis upper lf surface

Phomopsis lauri on Bay

I found this hoverfly in the conservatory which, subject to final inspection, Murdo says is Scaeva selenitica, and “I have found that only four times before, and not since 2012”.

The NBN distribution map looks like this:

Scaeva selenitica map

What one can find without leaving house and garden…..

More from Skye’s East Coast

June 8, 2017

The day before last Saturday’s Skye Botany Group outing, Ro went up Ben Tianavaig and added 45 taxa to the tetrad. I had been there at the beginning of April 2013 – see here and here hoping to re-find Saxifraga oppositifolia (Purple Saxifrage) and Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens). I succeeded in the first but failed in the second. Ro also failed to find Dryas – maybe it has been lost in a rockfall. However, she did find a single plant of Arabidopsis petraea (Northern Rock-cress), previously recorded from this tetrad in 1967 by John & Hilary Birks.

Arabis petraea Ro Ben Tianavaig

Arabidopsis petraea Photo: R Scott

Yesterday, I visited the bits I failed to get to last week, NG54J and NG55F. They now have 105 and 135 taxa recorded respectively, and I added a few to NG55A and B while passing through. There was lots of Equisetum telmateia (Great Horsetail), Eupatorium cannabinum (Hemp-agrimony) and Hypericum tetrapterum (Square-stalked St John’s-wort) all of which have limited and essentially coastal distributions on Skye.

Some of the trees were covered in lichens and bryophytes. like this Goat Willow:

Salix caprea epiphytes

Salix caprea – epiphytic flora

Not that I am getting seriously into micromoths but I managed two yesterday that have been confirmed by Keith and Nigel:

The given vernacular names are Nettle Tap and Plain Gold.

This rust on Hypochaeris radicata (Cat’s-ear) is Puccinia hieracii var. hypochaeridis:

Coincidentally Steve sent me this image from Suisnish which is of a similar thing on Pilosella officinarum (Mouse-ear-hawkweed), Puccinia hieracii var. piloselloidarum:

Puccinia hieracii var. piloselloidarum

He also sent me a picture of Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort) that appears to have a fungus on it but that has yet to be identified:
IMG_3780a

Skye Botany Group at Staffin

June 4, 2017

Yesterday we went to a coastal area near Staffin and recorded 191 taxa in a previously under-recorded tetrad, NG56D.

The following were new to the 10km square NG56:

Blysmus rufus (Saltmarsh Flat-sedge)
Carex hostiana x lepidocarpa
Eleocharis multicaulis (Many-stalked Spike-rush)
Fraxinus excelsior (Ash) (Planted)
Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid) (But only because older records had not been assigned to what was then a subspecies Gymnadenia conopsea subsp. borealis)
Lemna minor (Common Duckweed)
Luzula multiflora subsp. congesta (Heath Wood-rush)
Saxifraga x urbium (Londonpride) (Roadside, garden throw-out)
Triglochin maritima (Sea Arrowgrass)

and Ribes nigrum (Black Currant) about 2 metres outside the tetrad in NG56C.
We also spotted a number of insects, leaf-mines, leaf-spots and rusts, some of which are still to be determined.

Small Things

May 27, 2017

This micro-moth was in the garden yesterday. Nigel tells me it is Syndemis musculana sometimes known as Dark-barred Twist, though verncular names do not seem to be much used in the micromothing world.

Syndemis musculana 170526

and today this looper caterpillar which Nigel tells me is the Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) fell onto the lawnmower.

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This fly, Murdo tells me is a Phaonia, a very large genus of the family Muscidae, but since I have had seven different species over the past five years it will need to go for proper determination:

fly 20170519 (1)

Meanwhile, the fungus on Dryas octopetala from Wednesday is looking very likely to be Isothea rhytismoides. The NBN Atlas has 22 records for the British Isles, all in Scotland or Ireland, but none since 1993, and none in Scotland since 1990. (Also none anywhere near Skye.) Here is a better image:

Dryas fungus 3

and a link to things found on Dryas. (The English starts below the Dutch.)

Berraraig Bay and Beyond

May 26, 2017

Back in the last century Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) (1976) and Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine) (1996) were discovered on the cliffs of Berraraig Bay. Then in 2006 I added a third Nationally Scare species to the same habitat, Cephalanthera longifolia (Narrow-leaved Helleborine).

For several years I have been meaning to get there in May when the Cephalanthera is in flower and on Thursday I achieved it. I counted over 40 plants, over a 700m stretch. I will certainly have missed some non-flowering specimens as quite a few plants are a little way up a near-vertical cliff.

This was an exceptional day for me in that I added the three Nationally Scarce species above to tetrad NG55C (as well as other nice things like Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade), and two to NG55H, Dryas and Equisetum x font-queri (Font-Quer’s Horsetail) as well as Neottia ovata again, and Vicia sylvatica (Wood Vetch).

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Now I know Equisetum x font-queri, unlike Equisetum telmateia (Great Horsetail), is supposed to bear a cone at the top of fertile stems but this is ridiculous:

Equisetum font-queri Berreraig Bay Malformed

There were rusts and similar I haven’t found before:

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and all sorts of other things – generally a great day.