Spring fungi this year included Conocybe aporos, a new species for the Societys records, several of which were found growing on the wood chips by the car park at Birkacre on 22nd April. The North West Fungus Group held a Spring foray in Cuerden Valley Park on 9th May. Most of the species recorded were those which grow on trees and/or dead wood but there were a few notable exceptions. An early Stinkhorn, Phallus impudicus, was traced by its strong putrid smell and a group of Entoloma clypeatum, one of the Spring fruiting Agarics was found in the grassland near Clayton Bridge. The Entoloma family is characterised by having pink spores which colour the greyish gills pink on ageing. St Georges Mushrooms, Calocybe gambosum, were found in two areas of grassland in the Park. The latter species was also noted near Rivington Village on 11th May. The same month, Sulphur Polypore, Laetiporous sulphureus, was seen on oak trees in Plock Wood, Dam Wood and at Rivington. This species was also recorded later in the year in Astley Park and again at Rivington.
On 23rd June, during one of the Societys summer evening walks at Euxton, several fungi were seen including Glistening Ink Cap, Coprinus micaceus, on a fallen tree and Little Jap Umbrella, Coprinus plicatilis, on the footpath, both by the River Yarrow. On that same evening walk, the beautiful golden mushroom, Pholiota spectabilis/ Gymnoplilus junonius was found growing at the base of a beech tree in Glead Hill Wood and nearby, on the ground were several Amethyst Deceiver, Laccaria amethystea.
The hot spells interspersed with wet spells during the summer months produced just the right conditions for fungi and by the end of August, good numbers were appearing, including some uncommon species. In Duxbury Woods on 27th August, the Death Cap, Amanita phalloides, was seen for the second consecutive year and growing on a Common Earth Ball, Scleroderma citrina, was the Parasitic Boletus, Boletus parasiticus. This latter species had only previously been recorded locally in Lever Park, Rivington.
Five large specimens of Parasol Mushroom, Macrolepiota procera, growing in Astley Park on 30th August gave a new record for the site. Both the Parasol and the related Shaggy Parasol, Macrolepiota rhacodes, seem to have been in unusual abundance this season. Unfortunately, for beginners, the two species look confusingly alike and whilst the former is edible and good, Shaggy Parasol is can cause stomach upsets in some people. There is, however, a simple way to separate them when they are fresh just scratch the stem with your finger nail. There is no colour change with M. procera but M. rhacodes will turn red within about a minute.
An excellent find on 2nd September in the woodland by the track leading to Lead Mines Clough was the uncommon Milk-cap, Lactarius chrysorrheus, a new record for the Society. This species which grows in association with oak trees, at first glance can look like the Oak Milk-cap, Lactarius quietus, but when it is broken, L. chrysorrheus exudes a yellow liquid whereas L. quietus has a white milk-like liquid. A few weeks later, there were many fruiting bodies of the Blackening Russula, Russula nigricans, in the same locality.
In spite of the very wet weather for the Societys foray at Rivington on 29th September, forty one mainly common species were recorded. Of interest were Clitocybe fragrans, which smells of aniseed and Mycena haematopus, which produces a blood-red liquid when its stem is broken, hence its Latin name. The foray was enhanced by the expertise provided by three guests from the North West Fungus Group, who joined us for the event.
Peter Smith from Bolton, one of the recorders from the North West Fungus Group, carried out a survey of fungi along the route of the proposed Eaves Green Link Road for the Environmental Consultants employed by Chorley Borough Council. Although the survey was done over a four day period from late October to early November, at the end of the main fungus season, 142 species were recorded. These included several new species for the area and some interesting ones. In the report, as well as listing the species in the normal manner under the Orders of Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes, the species were split into three groups:
Peter gave a draft copy of his report and list of species for the Societys records. The Society already had a list of over 200 species of fungi recorded in Duxbury Park and Woods but the area of Duxbury Woods which would be affected if the proposed road were built had not previously been looked at in detail for fungi. Forays in the past have usually been in the woodland around the circular walk from the car park and the other areas of the route surveyed by Peter had not been studied for fungi before.
At least four species of Wax Caps were seen in both the cricket field at White Coppice and a meadow at Heath Charnock, together with other grassland species in November. Finally, at Chorley Scout Centre on 10th December, 2 groups of an Oyster Fungus, Pleurotus cornucopiae were found growing on a skirting board at the edge of the carpet in the meeting room!
Thanks to the following members who submitted records and/or specimens for identification this year:
Nik Bruce, Tony Johnson, Joyce Riley, Colin Smith, Neil Southworth, Dennis Weir and Nora West, plus North West Fungus Group members Tony Bond, Edna Stephenson and Peter Smith. A special thank you to Peter Smith for providing his records from Duxbury, Cuerden Valley Park and Rivington.
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