Monday, 5 February 2018

New shoots promising spring flowers

It's always re-assuring to see the first signs of spring flowers.  I spotted these today at Filnore Woods.

Bluebell leaves gathering strength from the sunlight to produce next year's flowers.  This year's flowers are already waiting in embryonic form under ground.

The ferny leaves of Cow Parsley or Queen Anne's Lace.  This flower can thrive in the open or in the dappled shade of woodland.

The arrowhead leaves of Wild Arum are among the first to appear on the woodland floor.  

They are also very prolific, growing everywhere.  One of our commonest woodland plants.

The flowers appear in April  .  .  .

.  .  .  and give rise to clusters of berries in August

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Filnore Fungi 6 - jellies

Last in the current series of fungus identification posts

Purple Jellydisc (Ascocoryne sarcoides)  Likes to grow on dead beech trees.

Jelly Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)
Grows almost exclusively on dead elder wood.  Feels a bit like a human ear.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Beech against the sky

Winter trees silhouetted against the sky show the structure of the tree, which is largely hidden in summer.  They are also, like this beech near post 2, a wonder in themselves, something to pause and stare at for a few moments.

Beech twigs are recognised by their long, thin, pointed buds.

The twigs zig-zag with a bud projecting at each angle.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Filnore Fungi 4 - small toadstools

I already posted 'Filnore Fungi 5' so 4 and 5 are in the wrong order but it's immaterial - just confusing.

Small toadstools
It's hard to tell them all apart but Simon has identified them for us.

Grooved Bonnet (Mycena polygramma) viewed from underneath - one of the prettiest.  

Common Stump Brittlestem (Psathyrella piluliformis)  

The Deceiver (Laccaria laccata)  on the woodchip pile.  It gets fringey round the edge as it matures.  Called the deceiver because it changes colour and so can trick you.

Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata) - you may realise it is probably not one to fry up, judging from the name.  

In fact it contains amatoxins, also found in the notorious Death Cap (Amanita phalloides), which attack the liver if the mushroom is eaten.  Unfortunately it resembles several other edible  'LBMs' or 'little brown mushrooms'  but it is DEADLY.  


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

January coppicing and dead hedge building

 Peter sharpening stakes for the dead hedge.

Cynthia spotting something interesting.

Building the dead hedge.

Looking at the dead hedge.

The idea of the dead hedge is (a) to clear the twiggy brash off the woodland floor to allow small plants to grow, (b) to create a slightly different habitat for insects and birds and (c) to remind us, in future years, where we had previously coppiced. 

Building a bit more - note the extra workers in the background.

We had eleven volunteers on Sunday 14th Jan, which was a bright, dry day, but rain and wind have slowed the work down in December and January.  If possible we want to clear this coupe or coppicing area by the end of February.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

January flowers

In sheltered spots the hazel catkins are already golden with pollen 

and hogweed can still surprise you with its white or pink head of florets.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Filnore Fungi 5. Large Toadstools

Agaricus xanthodermus (The Yellow Stainer)
This one can cause serious tummy upsets.  People can confuse it with the common edible mushroom (apparently this happens a lot in Australia).  But it is easily distinguished;   - when bruised or even just handled, the white cap turns bright yellow.

Lepista flaccida (Tawny Funnel)
Although it is funnel-shaped this is one of the Blewits.  The cap frequently has a spout at one 'corner' like a jug.  They often grow in large fairy rings in woodland.

Lepista nuda  (Wood Blewit)
This species is a lovely violet or lilac colour when new but the top fades to buff leaving only the stalk and underside bluish.

Macrolepiota procera (Parasol mushroom)
It starts off as a ball on a stick, opens into a perfect parasol shape, and then flattens out, as in Simon's photograph,  except for the bump in the middle.  The cap and the stalks carry pale brown scales on a white background.

All photos taken by Simon Harding in Filnore Woods on 25th November