Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Danish mystery Agaric 2011

Though the Danish funga has been studied for years we each year finds between 30 and 70 new species for the country—and in addition a number of seemingly undescribed ones. On the borderline between these two groups is a collection I made this summer on wood chips on a small path on the Danish island Læsø. The description reads:

Pileus 15-25 mm, convex, yellow brown, covered with small, upright, fibrillose scales, near the margin with white, fibrillose remnant of velum universale; lamellae adnate to somewhat emarginate or slightly decurrent, L20, l6-7, cream to pale yellow brown, margin floccose-crenelate; stipe to 25 x 3 mm, dull brown with a whitish veil zone slightly abowe the middle and felty at the base; smell and taste none; spp. dark greyish brown. Spores 4-4.5 x 7-7.5 µm, amygdalaeform to ellipsoid, smooth, brown with an obscure germ pore; cheilocystidia irregularly clavate to monilliform, 8-13 µm wide; pileipellis of upright, brown, strongly ornamented hyphae; clamps +.

Now, descriptions are always difficult but the pictures reveals something like a Galerina marginata but with the cap cuticle like a Flammulaster or Phaeomarasmius. There are species in both these genera which seems rather close without being rearly convincing.



We would much like suggestions—It is unlikely that such a striking species has not been recorded elsewhere by any of you keen mycologists :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Engleromyces goetzei - a grotesque member of the Xylariaceae

During a holiday in Uganda July 2011 I encountered (at a distance) one of my most desired fungi: Engleromyces goetzei described by Hennings (1900) from "Nyassa, Africa orientalis" on "culmus emortuos Bambusae". This locality must have been somewhere along lake Nyasa in the southern part of the Great Rift Valley. My sighting was in the same valley but in the mountains near the north west corner of lake Victoria within Uganda but close to the Rwanda border. Despite the original diagnosis refers to a dead bamboo culm, the Ugandan fungus clearly grew on a still living, fairly thick bamboo culm (appr. 5-6 cm diam.). The overall morphology of the fungus does not suggest a placement within the Xylariaceae, but the microscopical characters are rather compelling. I am not aware of any genuine molecular placement of the fungus. Recently a second species of the genus has been described from China, also on bamboo, but apparently a somewhat smaller object (Whalley et al. 2010 - in Mycotaxon).
Lloyd (1917) stated that E.g. is the largest pyrenomycete and that there are several specimens on exhibition in the museum at Berlin. He also wrote "some years later (1906) a specimen reached Paris from the same region. It was sent to the arthropological museum at Paris, the collector taking if for a fossilized skull" and goes on "Patouillard, not knowing of course what Hennings had done at Berlin, renamed it Collemantanginia paradoxa. Practically nothing is known as to its habits. Patouillard states it occurs on the trunk of Abies, Hennings on bamboo".

The fleshy stromata, up to more than 30 cm in diam., contains perithecia in several layers (polystichous) and the spores are likened to those of a Xylaria (dark brown, asymmetrical with one side flattened and somewhat pointy (citriform)). The apical apparatus within the asci stains blue in iodine reagents as in most members of the Xylariaceae. The pictures are taken by one of of my fellow travellers Peter Bundgaard using a long tele lens.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A surprising mass fruiting of Monilinia fructigena

During a general survey for the current Danish basidiomycote atlas a rather unpromising locality in Northern Jutland produced a series of rather interesting records including the subject of this blog.

Under a smallish apple tree (Malus domestica) lots of this years fruits showed signs of Molinia (fructigena) infections and a closer inspection of the soil in the shade of the crown produced many sclerotized apples covered in big, stipitate apothecia, some of which displayed a rather peculiar dark grey brown color.

Under the microscope the colour was shown to be caused by (over-) mature ascospores that made the preparation superficially resemble one of a Hypoxylon species! [sp. ca. 10. x 4.8 µm with some of the pigmented ones clearly bigger; one side flattened and one end slightly more pointy than the other - very close to a Hypoxylon spore without a visible germination apparatus].

The spores match otherwise M. fructigena but at present we cannot exclude M. laxa and M. fructicola. We have so far been unable to locate information on the darkening of the ascospores. The apothecia are ± hairy, even at the apothecial margin, up to 5 mm wide and 10 mm high including the stipe.

[UPDATE: as seen in the comments below, this may not be a Monilinia at all but rather a Lambertella (and if so, the first finding of this genus in Denmark)]

Thomas Læssøe & Jens H. Petersen

Fruitbodies growing on last years sclerotized apples.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From Caroline Hobart we have this announcement of a translation of Stangls book on Inocybe:

It's a translation in English, bigger than the original and thicker with some up to date comments about status of different sp and their occurrence in UK. Index clear and helpful. I have just had my copy and its excellent ....I'm hopeless at German....

Please send a cheque made out to Archie McAdam for £20 + p&p

Address is
Raikeswood Crescent
BD23 1ND
01756 793359

Friday, August 5, 2011

Angel's Share Fungus - An Ascomycete Alcoholic

This article appeared in a June issue of WIRED - it describes tracking down a mysterious fungus that causes black staining on a variety of substrates, particularly around breweries, distilleries, and bakeries. Baudoinia compniacensis is the culprit, a heavily melanized anamorphic fungus in the Capnodiales. The fungus uses volatile alcohol as a carbon source. Want to culture it in vitro? Just add a shot of Jack Daniels to the media...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Retirement of Dr Machiel Noordeloos

After a mycological career of almost 40 years at the Rijksherbarium Leiden (now Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity NCB-Naturalis), Machiel Noordeloos retired from his post in July 2011. His departure marks the end of a period of a strong taxonomic tradition founded by R.A. Maas Geesteranus and M. Donk, followed by J. van Brummelen, C. Bas and W. Jülich. Machiel will continue in mycology, sharing his knowledge with others, but in a more leisurely way, leaving more time for his other passions, music and painting.
Many mycological colleagues and friends from the Netherlands and Belgium.
attended the farewell lecture and party, where he among other things was presented a full set of water soluble oil paints.

New book on Strophariaceae

Just published: a monograph of the Strophariaceae family for Europe:
Machiel Noordeloos, Strophariaceae s.l. in Fungi Europei vol. 13. 648 pp, 43 plates with line-drawings, and 377 colored photographs. Edizioni Candusso, 2011. Price Euro 69.--

This monograph combines up to date knowledge of the species with a modern classification, based on morphology and recent molecular/phylogenetic studies.

The book contains keys, descriptions and line drawings of about 100 species, distributed over 12 genera: Stropharia, Leratiomyces, Hemistropharia, Hypholoma, Deconica, Psilocybe, Pholiota, Flammula, Hemipholiota, Kuehneromyces, Meottomyces, and Phaeonematoloma. In additions most species have been depicted in colour, often with several photographs, in order to show variability. Micrographs of spores and cystidia are also given.

The book can be obtained from the publisher:, booksellers and the author.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bhutan 5

So, finishing the Bhutan trip we know that the medium high areas around the capital Thimphu will not be "in full fruitbody" till maybe middle of Juli, whereas the lowlands with their stronger monsoon rain is filled with Russulas and Boletes already in middle June. Also, we are as always left with a number of new weird fungi which doesn't fit into our European concepts. Here is a couple:

A Mycena with leopard-speckled pileus:

Another Mycena with pale violet colours and cystidia everywhere:

A species we first treated as a Chrysomphalina till we discovered its weird chilocystidia and amyloid spores:

Our notes says:
    Spores globose to subglobose; spores smooth; spores amyloid; spores length 6,5-8 µm, width 5-6 µm; basidia 4-spored; cheilocystidia rather extreme with a swollen basal part and an extremely outdrawn thin apical part, to 80 µm.

There are many more peculiar specimens in the capsules right now and we just hope eventually to get these out of Bhutan for further study. For now I will just close with a couple of nice pictures from the trip:

The Paro Dzong


And some butterflies

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mexican mystery fungus also Bhutanese?

During our workshop in Thimphu, Bhutan this month we have encountered what would appear to to match Campanophyllum proboscideum, a fungus known from Mexico south to Ecuador (and further down?). It it attached by a peculiar snout-like dorsal extension - hence the epithet. It was found on 4 big logs in a wet montane forest in upper Thimphu Valley (Dodena) and was photographed by Morten Christensen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Iceland - more than volcanoes

Greetings from Iceland. I was so lucky to get a summerjob in this fascinating country. What do we know about Iceland? A rough cold island in the North Atlantic Ocean characterized by mostly desert-like vegetation and active volcanoes which are sending large ash clouds to Europe knocking out our air traffic? A country way off from the other European countries with sparse population which recently became famous by its economic losses due to the economy crisis? Oh, and there was something with vikings and an old language with strange Þ and ð letters ...

There is active fungal research in Iceland.
Mycologists might know that there was published a comprehensive book on Icelandic fungi by Helgi Hallgrímsson in 2010: Sveppabókin – Íslenskir sveppir og sveppafræði (website in Icelandic, but google translator is not so bad, just enter the address of the website.).

And somehow there must be more than desert-like vegetation and crazy volcanoes - a checklist (Helgi Hallgrímsson & Guðríður Gyða Eyjólfsdóttiris) is available on the internet comprising 1.531 species of "microfungi". Also nice photo galleries can be found on the web: cap fungi and others.
We even have a blog fellow in Iceland:

So this is an interesting country for people interested in fungi. - And I would like to keep you up to date with Icelandic mycology and fungal experiences.
Old fruitbody of cf. Calvatia sp. - Or erupted volcano?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bhutan 3

Very typical for Bhutan many fungi looks almost like in Europe, and then again there is something wrong. Like the "Calocera viscosa" of which we have had both very slender versions and this very openly branched type:

In the microscope it has aseptate spores which are a little to large, so, not C. viscosa sensu stricto (miss good Calocera literature).

By the way the orchids are small but numerous at 3000 m height (click the pictures to enlarge):

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bhutan 2

Now we are a couple of days into our local Bhutanese fungal workshop and there is time for a small blog.

We have a class of six local students which are very interested in fungi (always a pleasure). Here Thomas Læssøe is giving an introduction to collecting with Mikako Sasa watching:

And here is our team discussing fungi in the afternoon in front of the lab:

Here some fungi (nice but not super-exotic): 
A nice Hydropus marginella with dark gill edges:

One of the numerous, unidentified species of Marasmius

A Calocera, maybe C. viscosa:

A small, yellow Mycena:

And  a yellow billed blue magpie watching: