Fungi on the South Downs

Do fungi go in for camouflage? Many come in earthy hues of beige or brown, but searching around the woodland floor I realised that even more ostentatiously coloured specimens are an almost perfect match for a good autumn leaf! 

Below are a few examples: 

This is the yellow stagshorn – Calocera viscosa. It is a common species on conifer stumps and fallen logs where it takes the nutrients from the deadwood and creates these beautiful antlered protrusions, the fruiting body of the fungus.  This is commonly known as the orange peel fungus – Aleuria aurantia – although the epiphet indicates the resemblance to an ear may have been the original inspiration for the name. This fungus was growing on the bare earth of a path winding between conifers and silver birch trees where it blended beautifully with the freshly fallen orange leaves of the birch and the brown needles of the pine.  This last specimen is the grey coral fungus – Clavulina cinerea. I almost walked past this first time, it grows on the earth, reaching only around 5cm above the ground and looks like nothing more than the freshly aired and excavated soil mound of an insipid molehill at a casual glance. A closer look reveals a quite beautiful array of delicate grey protrusions. The absence of forked tips distinguishes this from the otherwise similar white coral fungus.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s