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One to look out for

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:50 pm
by Chris Yeates
Some weeks back my old Yorkshire mycological colleague Jerry Cooper ... 9vcGVyag== was over in the UK and stayed with me for a couple of days in my Scarborough flat. We had a walk round the area noting how many NZ plants were present in the formal and semi-formal gardens above the South Bay.

At one point he dived into a pile of dead leaves, had a quick look and, with a smile, handed me what I at first thought to be a myxo on a dead ivy leaf*. The latter turned out to be a leaf of Griselinia littoralis (much planted in Scarborough), and the "myxo" was Physalacria stilboidea, a fungus Jerry of course knows well in NZ. So second (actually third - see below) UK record. Since then I've had a rootle around and found the fungus in several other spots in the South Cliff Gardens area, always present on dead leaves at the right state of decay.

I contacted Martyn Ainsworth at Kew and he said he had also learned of another record earlier this year made by Charles Aron on Anglesey. Martyn has since gone on to find it himself, again on Griselinia, from Woodingdean, E of Brighton. So the fungus has been found in four widely separated coastal areas, and appears to be common wherever the host occurs. So I would encourage others to look out for it - not necessarily in coastal areas, although Griselinia does appear to be more frequently planted in such sites. The host is quite easy to recognise. As can be seen the fungus develops as a pale patch of fungal tissue in the centre of tiny dark brown leaf-spots. As the stipe develops it often leaves a volva-like base; the globose head appears bristly from the presence of numerous cystidia.

Physalacria is the type genus of the family Physalacriaceae, which includes gilled fungi like Armillaria, Flammulina and Strobilurus, and also resupinate fungi. More on the taxonomic stuff will follow . . .

PS * The first UK find was from another seaside town, Salcombe in Devon. I wonder if the substrate, thought then to be Hedera, might also have been Griselinia. The leaves in Scarborough were a mixture of the two, and superficially they can look similar (hence my initial mistake). A NZ host would make more sense . . .
Physalacria stilboidea 0a.jpg

Re: One to look out for

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:27 am
by Wood Wanderer
Very interesting Chris, Griselinia is quite a common garden plant although as you say more likely to be cultivated near the coast.

Having said that I used to have one in my Warwickshire garden until it decided against the winter frosts we always get ....

Re: One to look out for

Posted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 pm
by gary
Found it today on the Aberystwyth University Campus- haven't taken a photo yet.
Lots of Griselinia hedges around here near the coast.
Thanks for making me look for it!

Re: One to look out for

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:48 pm
by gary
photos taken with my cheapo £12 digital microscope,not brilliant but OK

Re: One to look out for

Posted: Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:29 pm
by Chris Yeates
Excellent stuff Gary!
Photo's absolutely fine for identification purposes.

Re: One to look out for

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:45 pm
by gary
Went shopping at the Torquay Lidl on Newton Road this morning (location) and had a quick look in the bottom of a Griselinia hedge next to the car park
and found fbs on very old wet Griselinia leaves underneath. No photo this time. Further up the road near the hospital I looked in a very manicured lower Gris hedge but didn't find it but there was a mix of deciduous tree leaves under the hedge and they were very dry.