Phleogena faginea (Fr.) Link (1833), Basidiomycota, Fungi. Fenugreek Stalkball in Shrawley Wood, Worcestershire
On 9th November 2012 I discovered the fungus Phleogena faginea growing out of an old decaying lime coppice stem in Shrawley Wood. The fungus was growing in short rows running up and down the coppice stem, bursting out through cracks in the bark. (Fig. 1.). The stem on which the fungus was growing was part of a large overstood lime coppice stool within heavily shaded woodland. Several of the coppice stems were decayed and the fungus was growing on one of these stems.
This is mainly a southern species with possibly only one other record from Worcestershire according to NBN Gateway. As this fungus is small and tends to fruit quite late in the season well into winter it may be overlooked. It has a distinctive shape with the round head and short stalk with a characteristic smell of fenugreek or curry especially when dry. Few popular guides on fungi include the species but Sterry (2009) does. Possible some slime moulds could be mistaken for it but the smell should be evident. Probably an over-looked species that may be common in more neglected woodland?
Sterry, P & Hughes, B. 2009 Collins Complete British Mushrooms and Toadstools Collins
NBN Gateway web pages
Fig. 1. Phleogena faginea Shrawley Wood. John Bingham