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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!

30 July, 2016

Mitrula paludosa: the bog beacon

When you are out in the countryside it pays to keep your eyes open; look up and down, left and right. After a while I think you develop a sense of what is unusual as opposed to 'ordinary'. There is nothing 'ordinary' in the natural world, may be familiar would be better term? When at Arne it is easy to look up in to the trees for birds, or through the woods for deer or out across Poole Harbour for the views but if you keep your eyes open you will find many things that are quite unusual, and this fungus is one of them. 
It may not be nuch to look at but in the drainage ditch where it grows there is a lot of it. Referring to my library I find this fungus is called the bog beacon (Mitrula paludosa) and that it grows on rotting twigs in damp ditches amongst sphagnum mosses. The amazing thing to me is that exactly these factors come together in the coniferous woodland near the Shipstal bird hide and there is the fungus im exactly the habitat the book says it occurs in! It is described as 'occasional' which means it is not that common. I want to know how this fungus can survive and spread given the uniqueness of its habitat? You can see it from late spring to early summer.
It is not edible so leave it where it is!
Mitrula paludosa: the bog beacon