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This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
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Found on Hazel trees in Britain, it is actually parasitic on the Glue Crust fungus Hymenochaete corrugate not living off the Hazel tree. It is not always possible to see the host crust fungus due to the presence of the Hazel Glove fungus and mosses.
Hazel Glove Fungus’ common name comes from the finger-like projections of the stromata (cushion-like plate of solid mycelium). It is a type of ascomycete fungus. When mature, the central area of a stroma becomes pinkish brown, and individual perithecia (tiny black dots on the surface of these orange lobes which are sac openings which release the spores) become visible.
Most likely to find in either west coast of Scotland in Atlantic Hazel woodland or temperate rainforest sites or in the south west of England, in North Devon and Cornwall, again in temperate rainforest habitat.
Temperate rainforest, parasitic on Glue Crust fungus Hymenochaete corrugata on Hazel trees.
Hazel Glove fungus is an indicator of good air quality and temperate rainforest conditions, making it a flagship species for this threatened habitat.
Temperate rainforests are found in areas that are influenced by the sea, with high rainfall and humidity and damp climate. They are home to some intriguing and sometimes rare bryophytes, plants and fungi.
Plantlife are working in many ways to protect and restore this globally threatened habitat.
Image by Sarah Shuttleworth
Violet Coral (Clavaria zollingeri) is a rare species in Britain found in unimproved grassland. It is usually solitary, but can occur in small groups.
It is listed as vulnerable across Europe on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
This autumn, help Plantlife find Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
A very rare find, Big Blue Pinkgill Entoloma bloxamii grows in unfertilised, long-established grasslands, usually on neutral or calcareous soils
In 2019 it was listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List in the UK, and a large area of mainland Europe.
With thanks to Debbie Evans for our image.
The Pink Ballerina Waxcap (Porpolomopsis calytriformis) is uncommon and localised in Britain and Ireland.
Due to favouring unimproved acid or neutral grassland it is more often seen in western Britain and particularly in Wales, sometimes in churchyards but more often on sheep-grazed acid grassland in the hills.
Commonly referred to as the Ballerina Waxcap, because of the way the pink cap flares out and splits like a tutu or pirouetting dancer.
The Ballerina Waxcap is on the The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (ICNU) Red List. At present it is a decreasing species and listed as vulnerable.
The Meadow Waxcap.
A prickly, sprawling evergreen shrub in the Cypress family with short spiky leaves.
Juniper blooms with small yellow flowers, followed by ‘berries’ – actually fleshy cones, that start green but ripen to blue-black.
These are famously used to flavour gin and certain meat dishes particularly game and venison. Used whole they impart a bitter, crunchy bite to savoury dishes. In fact, the word “Gin” derives from either genièvre or jenever – the French and Dutch words for “juniper”
Juniper is dioecious, which means that it is either male or female, unlike most tree species. The form of individual bushes varies from being low and prostrate at the one extreme to cylindrical and conical at the other.
In the Saving England’s Lowland Juniper project, Plantlife joined forces with landowners, supported by Natural England, to revitalise Juniper across southern England. 48 patches of land at nine sites in Wiltshire and Oxfordshire were scraped back to create a grassland habitat suitable for Juniper to regenerate.
Become a grassland guardian and help restore 10,000 hectares of species-rich grassland by 2030. Donate today.
A native wild relative of the familiar garden vegetable.
Wild Leek has globe-like heads on stems that can grow to a metre tall. Its leaves are just like the common garden leek, although the stem is not quite so fat. All parts have a strong onion scent.
County flower of Cardiff/Caerdydd.
Found wild on Flat Holm island just off the Cardiff coast, what better than the wild leek for representing the nation’s capital?
Just one locality on Ynys Mon (Anglesey) in North Wales and on a couple of islands in the Severn Estuary, two other forms of wild leek (var. bulbifera and var. babingtonii) are distributed around the coast of the British Isles.
Sandy and rocky places near the sea, especially in old fields and hedge banks, on sheltered cliff-slopes, by paths and tracks and in drainage ditches and other disturbed places.
Flowers from late June to August
Wild Leek is believed to have be en introduced to Britain. It is a scarce species, naturalised in only a few areas.
Wild Leek, image by Robbie Blackhall-Miles
Wild Leek on Anglesey, image by Trevor Dines
In fact the second part of its scientific name – lactea – means ‘milky’ in Latin. It has creeping stems originating from a rosette of leaves about its base.
A species of humid heathland and grass heath in southern England, largely confined to key heathland districts including the Wealden and Thames Basin heaths, the New Forest and Dorset heaths, and through much of Devon and Cornwall (though rarely ever commonly).
Pale Dog-violet is a species of humid heathland and grass heath (including the Culm grasslands), favouring areas with short vegetation and considerable bare ground created by burning, grazing or incidental disturbance such as rutting, turf cutting etc.
The species’ greatest threat comes from the cessation of traditional management practices, notably winter swaling (burning of dead grass and dwarf shrubs) and traditional stock grazing, ideally by cattle and/or ponies.
May and June whilst flowering.
Pale Dog-violet in grass
Its Latin name, morio, means ‘fool’ and refers to the jester-like motley of its green and purple flowers.
It can sometimes be confused with the early-purple orchid – the difference is in the leaves, which are not spotted, and the sepals which have green veins.
Green-winged orchid was chosen as the County Flower of Ayrshire. It can also be seen growing at our Joan’s Hill Farm Reserve in Herefordshire.
Widespread in most of England but has become scarce in the south-west. It is also less common in the north of England. It is well known on the Welsh coast and can be found in one small area on the west coast of Scotland
The green-winged orchid has many names in Scotland, suggesting a lively folklore: hen’s kames (combs), bull’s bags, dog’s dubbles, keet legs and deid man’s thoombs!
– Geoffrey Grigson, “The Englishman’s Flora”
One of our most magnificent wild flowers with feathery leaves and large purple blooms with a central boss of golden stamens.
The Pasqueflower blooms around Easter, hence the name “Pasque” (meaning “like Paschal”, of Easter). Its bell-like flowers open to track the path of the sun each day, nodding and closing at night. These are often followed by feathery seed heads. It’s a perennial plant, froming a neat clump of soft, hairy leaves.
A large purple bloom with a central boss of golden stamens and feathery leaves.
Dry calcareous grasslands, limestone banks and hillsides.
April when it flowers.
A rare wildflower which has been lost from many of the places it used to grow. Lack of grazing and scrub encroachment pose a serious threat to many of the remaining populations and it is considered “Vulnerable” in Britain.
Pasqueflower, image by Mark Schofield
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