Beauport Park

30th October 2009, Friday

Oudemansiella mucida, the Porcelain Mushroom is specific to beech wood. It appears in autumn on dead trunks and on fallen branches, and occasionally it also grows on living trees. About 20 years ago scientists discovered that this fungus ( along with many others) produced a powerful anti-fungal agent which helps it to defend its timber from attack by rival species of fungus. This substance was later synthesised, and spawned a multi-million pound branch of the agricultural fungicide business, the development of the strobilurin fungicides. These have been responsible for the most dramatic improvements in crop yields ( an additional 1 tonne of wheat per hectare is common ). Nearly every single wheat crop in the world is now treated with strobilurin fungicides, which are now already in their 4th or 5th generation –

A noisy flock of about 300 Lesser Redpolls was moving around the tops of the birches in the western end of the park today. This is the largest flock I’ve seen locally for years.

Other species heard flying above the canopy were Crossbill and Siskin, while numerous Blue, Great, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits foraged through the yellowing leaves along with Nuthatches, Treecreepers and Goldcrests.

Autumn colours help you to pick out exotic tree species in the abandoned arboretum. These sumptuous reds belong to a Sweetgum. Nearby are bright yellow Norway Maple and Tree of Heaven.

Clitocybe geotropa/gibba?