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Saturday dawned fine and mostly sunny, good news for most but not such good news for fungi enthusiasts, who are already bemoaning the recent lack of rain. Still, keen-eyed fungi fans can always find something and our Glamorgan Fungus Group has some of the keenest in ‘Eagle-eyes’ Emma. Though we were just a small group of six and a half, we enjoyed a splendid day searching the woodland areas of Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve, and our limited numbers were, in fact, a bonus, as we had amongst us the county recorder for Orthoptera (grasshoppers and related insects) and an experienced botanist, so we were able to enjoy, discuss and identify a broad range of flora and fauna. As expected, our fungi finds were limited but we finished the day with a very respectable total of 21 species and had a great time along the way.

Here are some of our finds: the rust Melampsora populnea on Dog’s mercury; another rust Kuehneola uredinis, on Bramble; Microbotryum silenes-dioicae, a smut that occurs on the anthers of Red campion flowers; another rust Melampsora epita var. epitea on Spindle; fungi enthusiasts inspecting the one group of cap fungi (‘real mushrooms’) found this day; the ‘real mushrooms’ that must remain unidentified as they were much eaten and turning gloopy; likely one of the Mollisia species of Disco fungi; Phellinus hippophaeicola on Sea buckthorn; Phylloporia ribis on Spindle; a rather old and faded Blushing bracket Daedaleopsis confragosa; a Puccinia species of rust on Common ragwort – this needs microscope work to positively ID; and the pimple-like growths of Dandelion wart Synchytrium taraxaci on one of the gazillions of Dandelion species, so Taraxacum officinale agg.

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