Saturday, 14 November 2015

Terracotta hedgehogs and earthstars

It's been one of those days when the rain never seemed to let up, but the dog needed a walk so I braved the elements and took her up to the woods where I found a couple of earthstars last week. I wanted to see if they were still there and I thought the trees might provide a bit of shelter from the rain (they didn't!)

I found the original two collared earthstars, plus another one, sitting in the leaf litter like little aliens. They are such unusual fungi and a real joy to find.

Three collared earthstars 

One of the original earthstars is starting to go over
I looked around under the trees and found lots of little orange fungi with teeth instead of gills. These are called terracotta hedgehogs (great name!) and are related to the more common wood hedgehogs. Terracotta hedgehogs are smaller, have an orange cap instead of beige and the teeth don't run down the stem.
Teeth hang down under the cap like tiny stalactites

Terracotta hedgehogs - 3 to 4cm wide  with an orange cap
The fungi around us have been a bit thin on the ground for the last couple of weeks, but there seemed to be a few signs that things were starting to appear again. I'm not sure whether the cooler temperatures have triggered things to start fruiting, but it felt like there could be some more interesting fungi around soon. For example, these coral fungi were just starting to grow again after disappearing for the last three weeks.

Coral fungi just starting to appear
The horn of plenty seem to be thriving and now cover a large area in the woods. I don't remember seeing them there last year, so I'm not sure whether they're having a good year this year, or perhaps I just missed them in the past.
Horn of plenty

Horn of plenty - looks like an old fashioned gramophone
Black horn of plenty cover a large part of the woods
I love the great common names of some of the fungi. You have to give top marks to whoever came up with earthstar, terracotta hedgehog and horn of plenty!

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