Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Burnt cakes

Weird and wonderful fungi have been a particular source of interest this year. Having noticed some strange and unfamiliar fungi close to Reservoir Cottage a few weeks ago, I returned to them early in my challenge to have a closer look.

This group of fungi turned out to be Jew's-ear (or for the more politically correct, Jelly-ear). This curious looking gelatinous fungi is in fact a common and widespread species found on deciduous trees. The appearance of a large floppy ear is the derivation of the name of this species.

Jew's-ear (Auricularia auricula-judaea)

Today, whilst on my lunchtime walk along Batch Valley, I found these hard black growths on an old Ash tree. These are also a fungi, and again one with a charismatic name. Whilst often listed as Cramp Balls, I prefer the name of King Alfred's Cakes due to their resemblance to burnt buns. Whilst I was looking up these fungi I came across a bush craft website describing how this hard fungi can be cut open and used as tinder for a fire, something to try if I get stuck in the snow in Batch Valley, perhaps.

Cramp Balls (Daldinia concentrica)

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