Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Little flames with velvet feet

This is the literal meaning of Flammulina velutipes, the scientific name of this fungus, known in English as Velvet Shank.  The bright yellow to orange toadstools have brown velvety stalks, hence the name Velvet Shank.
It is one of the few fungi that produce their fruiting bodies in winter.  It really doesn't seem to mind the frost   Following the 1970s outbreak of Dutch elm disease, it was the chief gobbler-up of the dead elm trees.
This cluster of Flammulina, photographed by Simon on 30th Dec 2013, is growing at the base of a dead branch on a Silver Maple tree near post 16 in Filnore Woods.  I mentioned it growing in the same place, in the blog posting for 6th Feb 2012, so it's been eating away at the dead wood for several years.  It's probably time to remove this branch for safety reasons, as it is leaning right over the path.  But it would be a pity to lose the the Flammulina toadstools altogether.  So perhaps we'll leave a bit of a stump for them to live on.

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