2017 was an exciting year for fungi in Kent with many scarce and rare species being recorded including micorrhizal agarics, toothed fungi, and chanterelle species. Spring was dry and generally there were few common spring fungi around.
However, a large colony of Gyromitra esculenta was found on the Leeds Castle Estate by Jill and John Brookes. We counted 500 fruit bodies on dry sandy soil under a pine plantation together with ‘old man of the woods’ Strobilomyces stobilurus. The rarely recorded Calocybe fulgens was seen in Pembury Walks Only one morel Morchella vulgare was recorded; RBG Kew is keen to have specimens of morels as there are several species lurking under the name of Morchella aestivalis and there are plans to investigate the DNA of this group. I would be pleased to see any specimens found in 2018. The autumn season stated early after heavy rains in late July and August. In contrast there were many fewer species in late September and October which are often the peak months for autumn agarics. It was an ‘oak year’ and sites on heavy clay were particularly rich with many scarce or rare mycorrhizal agarics occurring often in quantity. In contrast the chalk areas were generally very poor and species associated with beech were fewer than usual in these areas. Excellent numbers of micorrhizal species including Russula, Lactarius, Cortinarius and boletes were present in the oak and hornbeam woods. The colony size was often outstanding with 20-50 fruit bodies in many cases. Hydnoid and Cantherellus species also had a excellent year and were widespread in many woods. Of special interest was Sarcodon joeides with violet flesh found on a wooded bank at Seal Chart; there are very few British records for this first Kent find. Surprisingly, it was found for the first time in the same week in Cornwall. Grassland species included the usual common waxcaps and Mycena. Hygrocybe ingrate, more usual in the west of British Isles was seen at Old Pembury Churchyard. Common fairy clubs were frequent but no earth tongues (Geoglossum) were recorded at any of their known sites. The generally dry conditions in 2017 meant that dead wood was not particularly productive. However, Laxitextum bicolor, a fairly uncommon species, was seen on dead oak at three sites and Alick Henrici found more Tomentella species to add to the long list of this genus at Putt Wood. The mild wet end to the year was better with common agarics, brackets and jellies fruiting on dead wood. The once rare Plicatoropsis crispa continues its increase across the county. Typhula fistulosa together with Typhula contorta was widespread on fallen wood in beech litter on December 30th. Both occurred on the same small pieces of fallen wood suggesting that they are perhaps just forms of the same species
Thanks to members who provided records including Martin Allison, Bryan Bullen, Trudy Fleming, John and Jill Brookes, and Tony Witts. Special thanks must go to Alick Henrici and Mario Tortelli for help with identification.