Waxcap and other fungi near Stourbridge - an Update
In April 2011 Rosemary Winnall reported in Worcestershire Record (Winnall 2011) the discovery in 2009 of a waxcap grassland, or rather a series of waxcap garden lawns at Broome near Hagley, Worcestershire. The owner David Taft was very obliging and allowed further access in the autumn of 2011 when Rosemary asked several mycologists to help with the survey of the fungal mycota of David's lawns. Little did we know what would develop from this waxcap survey. Rosemary has asked me to report the findings.
The four lawns date from about the time the house was built around 1906 and appear to have been landscaped as they are flat but on slightly different levels. The largest is about 0.1ha in area. The soil is derived from the sandstone typical of the Kidderminster area and would naturally support acid grassland or heath. The lawns are dominated by mosses with some lichen patches suggesting semi-improved grassland such as NVC U1 (Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Rumex acetosella grassland), but generally more characteristic of MG6 (Lolium perenne - Cynosurus cristatus grassland), albeit with a very moss dominated sward. Botanically the lawns were not particularly rich supporting mainly rosette forming species such as Cat's-ear Hypochaeris radicata. No fertilisers or chemicals had been used for many years, if ever?
I made my first visit on the 15th November 2011 together with Rosemary and Denise Bingham. Rosemary had already recorded good numbers of Hygrocybe calyptriformis (Pink Waxcap) the previous week. Waxcaps were present in good numbers, and recording was carried out. After searching the first lawn I moved to the second larger lawn and after about 10 minutes I spotted a small fungus I was familiar with: Squamanita paradoxa (Powdercap Strangler). I could hardly believe it. At first three were found then after some excitement by all concerned Rosemary found some more specimens making at total of nine fruiting bodies. We believe this is the first county record for the species.
Squamanita pardoxa is listed as Vulnerable in Red Data (RDB) List edition 1 and Near Threatened in RDB List edition 2. It appears to occur at 15 sites in the UK and I personally have been responsible for finding two sites back in 2005 (Bingham & Bingham 2005). Denise and I had added another two sites from Shropshire in 2011 (Titterstone and Brown Clee Hills), that is excluding the site at Broome. Globally the fungus is rare with most records coming from Norway and Sweden. What makes S. paradoxa particularly interesting is the fact it is a parasite on other fungi, within the Cystoderma genus and in particular C. amianthinun (Earthy Powdercap) that appears to be the host for all UK specimens. It takes over its host and is a gall or 'cecidiocarp' first described in 1948 but not fully understood until 1965 (Redhead et al.1984) when it was described further. S. paradoxa is a member of the Tricholomataceae family with 10 species in total world-wide.
It grows with the stem of the Cystoderma and replaces the upper stem and cap of the orange coloured Cystoderma with its own greyish cap. Exactly how is still not understood but Gareth Griffith is undertaking research at Aberystwyth University (Matheny & Griffith 2010). I forwarded a photo of the Broome find to Gareth and immediately came a request for a specimen for his DNA research at Aberystwyth. Several specimens were sent and are now in culture with Cystoderma to see how the ceidicarp develops with the Cystoderma host.
A return visit was made to Broome on the 17 September with David Antrobus who was identifying Entoloma fungi, Mark Lawley to look at bryophytes and Brett Westwood who had an idea for a BBC Radio 4 item on grassland fungi. All this was much to the surprise and interest of David Taft and his gardener David Elder, who were both very helpful and welcoming to our strange antics. In due course Brett recorded a feature with Rosemary and me on grassland fungi, duly broadcast on the TheLiving World programme (http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/?q=Powdercap strangler or http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16029977) with my photograph of S.paradoxa on the BBC Nature webpage.
In Fig. 1. note the orange colour of the lower stipe which is the Earthy Powdercap Cystoderma amianthinun forming a stocking-like ring above which is the grey Powdercap Strangler Squamanita paradoxa stipe and cap.
Of course we did record the waxcaps with (total for all years) 14 Hygrocybe species, nine Clavariod, one Geoglossaceae and three Entolomas. (See Table 1).
This is a very respectable list given that a score of 10-11 Hygrocybe species, 5-6 Clavariod, 4 or more Geoglossium and 8-9 Entolomas are considered to make a site of national importance. (Nitare 1988). David Boertmann in his book on Hygrocybe has a table showing a score of between 11-15 Hygrocybe as being of regional importance and with 16-20 species being of national importance. (Boertmann 1996).
Of course there will be more to discover, certainly Entolomas were under recorded due to the dry weather and a late flush in 2011. More recording would certainly be of interest at such a rich site.
|Name of fungus||Associated Organism||Medium||Ecosystem||Frequency||Date|
|Agaricus augustus||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Arrhenia retiruga||Moss||soil moss||Grassland lawn||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Auriscalpium vulgare||Pinus||cone||Grassland lawn||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Calocybe carnea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Clitocybe fragrans||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Clitocybe rivulosa||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Conocybe apala||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Cystoderma amianthinum||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Dermoloma cuneifolium||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Entoloma infula||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Entoloma jubatum||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Galerina clavata||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Galerina vittiformis||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Galerna pumila||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe calyptriformis||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe ceracea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe chlorophana||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe coccinea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe flavipes||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe irrigata (uguinosus)||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe laeta var. laeta||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe miniata (strangula)||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe pratensis||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe psittacina||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe punicea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe reidii||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe russocoriacea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Hygrocybe virginea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Hygrophoropsis aurantiacum||Pinus||soil grass||Garden||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Inocybe pusio||Pinus||soil bare||Garden||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Inocybe sindonia||Pinus||bare soil||Grassland lawn||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Laccaria laccata||Pinus||soil grass||Garden||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Lactarius deliciosus||Pinus||soil needle||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Lactarius glyciosmus||Pinus||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Mycena aetites||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Mycena avenacea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Mycena clavularis||Gramineae||cone||Grassland lawn||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Mycena flavoalba||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Mycena pura||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Panaeolina foenisecii||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Panaeolus olivaceus||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Rickenella fibula||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Rickenella swartzii||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Russula gracillima||Betula||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Russula nigricans||Betula||soil grass||Garden||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Squamanita paradoxa||Gramineae||soil moss||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Stropharia caerulea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||17/11/2011|
|Stropharia pseudocyanea||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||17/11/2011|
|Suillus luteus||Pinus||soil needle||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Clarvaria acuta||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Clarvaria fragilis||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Clavaria argillacea||Gramineae||soil moss||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Clavulinopsis corniculata||Gramineae||soil moss||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Clavulinopsis fusiformis||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Clavulinopsis helvola||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Frequent||15/11/2011|
|Clavulinopsis laeticolor||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Clavulinopsis luteoalba||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Occasional||15/11/2011|
|Geoglossum fallax||Gramineae||soil moss||Grassland lawn||Rare||08/11/2010|
|Hypomyces aurantius||Polypore||fruit body||Grassland lawn||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Ramariopsis kunzei||Gramineae||soil grass||Grassland lawn||Rare||30/11/2009|
|Peziza badia||Angiosperm||soil bare||garden||Rare||15/11/2011|
|Sebacina incrustans||Gramineae||soil grass||Garden||Rare||15/11/2011|
Table 1 Fungi recorded at The Croft, Broome, Worcestershire, November 2011 by John Bingham, Denise Bingham, Rosemary Winnall, David Antrobus. Site SO897790, garden lawn, mossy, unfertilized for 50 years.
In addition to the fungi we have Mark Lawley's list of associated bryophytes.
The lawns consisted mainly of moss but with no notable species. Mark recorded the following 39 bryophytes from the garden. Nearly all the moss in the lawns is Rhytididadelphus squarrosus, with much less Atrichum undulatum, Brachythecium albicans, B. rutabulum, Hypnum cupressiforme, H. jutlandicum, Plagiomnium rostratum, P. undulatum, Polytrichum juniperinum, P. piliferum, and Lophocolea bidentata. Hypnum jutlandicum and the two Polytrichum species were growing only in sandy (or sandier) soil in the lawn beside the drive. There was also a noticeable amount of Cladonia lichen there too.
Many thanks to David Taft for his kindness and access permission.
Bingham, J. & Bingham, D. 2005. Squamanita paradoxa in Shropshire. Field Mycology 6(1):11–12
Boertmann, D. 1996. The Genus Hygrocybe. Fungi of Northern Europe. Danish Mycological Society.
Mathey, P M. & Griffith, G. W. 2010. Mycoparasitism between Squamanita paradoxa and Cystoderma amianthinum (Cystodermateae, Agaricales). Published online.
Nitare, J. 1988. Jordtunger, en svampgrupp pa tillbakagang I naturliga fodermarker. Svensk. Bot. Tidskr. 82:341-368.
Redhead, S.A., Ammirati, J.F., Walker, G.R., Norvell, L.L. & Puccio, M.B. 1994. Squamanita contortipes, the Rosetta Stone of a mycoparasitic agaric genus. Can. J. Bot. 72:1812–1824.
Winnall, R. 2011. Waxcap Fungi Near Stourbridge. Worcestershire Record 30:35-36.
Fig. 1. Squamanita paradoxa. John Bingham