Thursday, 5 May 2011


The last few weeks have seen many fires on Kilvey Hill. A recent estimate has twenty hectares being burnt down. It's depressing to witness and occasionally frightening as the fires came very close to where I live.

I've never seen so much damage but in a perverse irony the fires can encourage phoenicoid fungi, fungi that prefer a burnt substrate. It's been raining today and so I hope to find some kind of fungi as a result of the rain because there are a few species that appear relatively fast after raining on burnt ground. They are ephemeral but other species can colonise the same area but they can take several years.

Even after the fire, plants like bracken (shown below) are sprouting, annoying though not surprising so is Japanese Knotweed, the floral curse of Swansea.

In an area called Foxhole there's a patch that is really good for fungi and whilst I did not expect to find any mushrooms I did. It was a Russula, commonly called Brittlegills.

It was dessicated due to the warm weather but I was astonished and quietly delighted to find something. After todays rain, hopefully more will appear. Due to its state I cannot determine which Russula it is. But after witnessing the destruction on the hill this find is a comfort of sort.

Walking home I came across an old Piptoporus betularum/Birch Polypore. I have a daft fondness for this mushroom..

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