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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

29 November, 2009

Blushing Bracket Fungus (Deadaleopsis confragosa)

If you want to make a start identifying fungi then starting with the brackets is a good idea. Basically, they are quite obvious that they are bracket fungi which then narrows down the choice somewhat and there are not that many to choose from.

It is a good idea to try and decide what sort of wood they are growing on (brackets all grown on wood) as that will give you a further guide. Time of year is not such a good indicator as they can occur all year round but the rule of commonality will certainly apply - unless you are really lucky it will be the most common fungi you find.

The other vital piece of information you will require is whether the fungus you have found has gills on the underside or pores. Finally, and quite often key in any form of identification, not just fungi, is whether there is any particular feature that strikes you; on this fungi I was struck by the dark patches that look like bruises.

Armed with all this information it is then off to the field guide or reference book where all this information will be needed. In my guide, the pictures show that this could be one of several possibilities but the fact it has gills eliminated a group called the polypores. This one was in a rather damp woodland so I was pretty sure it was growing on a willow, there were no leaves on the tree at the time but it looked like Sallow to me. That brings down the choice again.

But the decider for me were these 'bruises'. They are a primary feature of Deadaleopsis connfragosa and that is how it gets its common name, the Blushing Bracket.

All identification in nature requires logical, systematic evaluation of the facts. Looking at pictures on its own rarely works.