10 Nov 2016

Exciting discovery on UK Fungus Day

Bruce Langridge

This Garden is lucky to have many knowledgeable and enthusiastic supporters.

One of these is David Mitchel, a mycologist from Powys. Every year, on UK Fungus Day, David leads a really well attended fungal foray around the Garden. And every year he produces a really accurate list of fungi that he encounters on the day, usually including species that have never been recorded here before.

This year’s highlight is the short spored earthtongue Trichoglossum walteri. 

This looks like an ugly black tongue sticking out of the ground, nothing like what most people’s idea of a what a wild mushroom should look like.

This short spored earthtongue was found on our internationally important waxcap field on our Waun Las National Nature Reserve. It’s only been recorded a few times across the UK but with proportionally more sightings in West Wales than anywhere else.

Some of Wales’ top mycologists have been visiting this meadow for over 20 years, but this is the first time this rare species, or any other type of earthtongue fungus has been recorded here. Short spored earthtongue is now the 40th wild fungus associated with well established, unfertilized pastures to be recorded on this fascinating sheep grazed pasture – a really high figure. Fungi-rich grasslands have declined rapidly across our heavily fertilised countryside so it’s vital that we conserve and look after ours.

Can you still see the earthtongue? Well the Garden’s wildlife recording volunteers went to look for it on Tuesday and the sharp eyed Michael Isaac eventually found it about 20 metres away from David’s grid reference of SN52771797. Given that it’s a month since our UK Fungus Day event, this may suggest it has been fruiting in more than one place. Our volunteers also found lots of wonderful colourful waxcaps, most fruiting later than usual due to the long dry autumn.

If you don’t know where the waxcap meadow is, have a look at the map at the top of this page and look along the ‘blue route’ path. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the Great Glasshouse – well worth it.

You can pick up a map at the Gatehouse or at the entrance to Waun Las.