Waxcaps?

Please try to include photos to show all parts of the fungus, eg top, stem, and gills.
Note any smells, and associated trees or plants (eg oak, birch). A spore print can be very useful.
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Lee Dingain
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Waxcaps?

Post by Lee Dingain » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:19 am

I don't think there is much I can do to identify these two but I think they are waxcaps of some kind?
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mushroom mike
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by mushroom mike » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:36 pm

They look very much like Hygrocybe psittacinathe Parrot Waxcap.

roy betts
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by roy betts » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:02 pm

I agree with Mike on the first image but the second collection is too far gone to identify (altho' they are Waxcaps).

Lee Dingain
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by Lee Dingain » Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:05 pm

Thanks Mike and Roy. Can I ask what identifies the first image as Parrot Waxcap rather than any other waxcap? I'm very new to fungi ID so I'm keen to learn any distinguishable features. Many thanks.

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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by roy betts » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:45 am

Well, there is a lot you can do to identify a fresh Waxcap (or any other gilled fungus). First you need to make a detailed description of it to identify first the Genus and then the species. If you've no idea of the Genus then spore colour is the first requirement (in the case of the fungus in the first image this will be white). 'Good' Field Guide's will have a key to Genera or you can work through the white-spored section of the book and look at the illustrations. With this specimen you should get to Hygrocybe (s.l.).
Then it gets more tricky! You need to know the colour of the cap, gills and stem and whether the cap and stem are dry, greasy, viscid or glutinous. Some will have viscid caps but dry stems etc. The colours will change with age and weather (some start scarlet then go yellow finally fade to white/buff), and in sunny conditions all species will dry out making assessment of the cap/stem surface more difficult - this is why you need fresh specimens! Some waxcaps have distinctive smells (honey, garlic, bed-bugs). Type of gill attachment is also useful to know.
Your second image shows a mostly overmature, and probably frosted, collection of varied colours.
Your first image is a fresh specimen. Without any description to go by, there needs to be at least one image of the cap and one of the stem and gills.
Hygrocybe psittacina is the only 'yellow' waxcap with green tones. Sometimes other colours are present. There is always some green: sometimes there is a lot, sometimes little (in which case it is usually present at the apex of the stem). You have not shown a view of the stem... so we a guessing. The cap is already discolouring but the gill colour is what I would expect from 'The Parrot'... but it's only a guess from experience.
If there is no green anywhere then it's a different ball game as there are quite a few yellow/orange species. In some cases checking the spore size and shape and type of cells in the gill trama is necessary to confirm identity. Like many genera, Waxcaps can be difficult to begin with and if you're serious you need a microscope and a book just on Waxcaps (like Fungi of Northern Europe Vol.1 by Boertmann).

Lee Dingain
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by Lee Dingain » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:56 pm

Hi Roy, Many thanks for an excellent post. Over the last few years I've been photographing the cap, gills, stem (being careful not to break it in half) and I write desciptions cross referencing with the photos I take. These photos are about eight years old and taken before I knew what I needed to photograph, so unfortunately I have not other photos and no description either.

I'm improving with ID (and actually very cautious, only assigning a species when I am certain), so this meams most of my finds currently go unidentified to species. The thing I find hardest a lot of the time is where to start. I often don't even know how to start getting to genus and this is where I've found this forum and asking others so helpful.

I am about to order a decent microscope but none of my books have keys. Can you recommend a book with keys at all or do you have to get a book on specific families to have a key?

Also, I like to say that I sincerely really appreciate your advise on my many ID requests (and that of others on this forum). You've been a great help so thank you.

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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by roy betts » Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:04 pm

You're welcome: it's good to talk with enthusiastic 'fellow travellers'. A microscope is essential for serious study but it does mean you spend a lot more time over collections!
These days I mainly use specialist literature although I have five 'Field Guides' accumulated along the way (some like Roger Phillips' excellent book is too large to carry about). Some have only 'pictorial' keys (again, the 2nd. Edition of Phillips) and many are now out of print. Courtecuisse & Duhem (Collins Field Guide) has a rather daunting key to the 1750 spp. illustrated. Marcel Bon's guide (Hodder & Stoughton) is a bit better. Recently I did buy Buczacik's Collins Guide (for a £1!) but this only has a pictorial key.
Have a look at Archie McAdams "Key to Genus - Agarics & Boleti" (2009) on the BMS website: http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/library/keys/
Very comprehensive (100 pages) but probably quite daunting to beginners (and me too!). But it does have information on where to start (most keys to Genus start with spore colour, then gill attachment and so on).
After several decades doing fungi I still sometimes get stuck as to Genus and tend to use the key to Genus in my old Moser (Agarics & Boleti - 1984).
If you're getting a microscope I would start with buying Funga Nordica. Another out of print book; always expensive and now you may have to pay more for one. Don't have a copy myself but it should have a good key and certainly covers most of the Agarics, Boletes etc. you are likely to find.

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Chris Yeates
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by Chris Yeates » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:51 pm

Hi Lee
all I can say is that mycology for the amateur is a whole lot easier (though by no means easy) than it was when I started out 35 or so years ago. Online resources such as this site would have been quite unimagineable, along with people scattered across the globe and willing to share their experience.

Experience is everything of course. I gather you are an experienced birder? You will recognise a Sylvia warbler or a pipit at a glance, but getting there will have taken a lot of learning, fieldwork and pointers from others. At least fungi don't disappear before you get a decent view!

Once you have acquired a microscope - I would recommend you get back to us on any possible choices before you purchase - you can practise on shop bought mushrooms and the common ones found in the wild. It helps to know what something is, but to go through a key nevertheless: you will often get the wrong answer with the latter, but can then work out where you went wrong.

If you have a decent knowledge of flowering plants, then many of the parasites - rusts, smuts and mildews etc. are easily identified just with a handlens, and with a microscope most of the others can be named. As an example, it's hard to find a patch of brambles without one of the two rusts which attack them:
Phragmidium violaceum.jpg
Phragmidium bulbosum.jpg
It's an excellent way for a relative newcomer to make a valuable contribution to our mycological knowledge, as several of the UKFungi folk have done thanks to this site.

I'll leave it at that, so we don't swamp you with too much info . . . . ;)

cheers
Chris
"You must know it's right, the spore is on the wind tonight"
Steely Dan - "Rose Darling"

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adampembs
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by adampembs » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:27 pm

roy betts wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:04 pm

If you're getting a microscope I would start with buying Funga Nordica. Another out of print book; always expensive and now you may have to pay more for one. Don't have a copy myself but it should have a good key and certainly covers most of the Agarics, Boletes etc. you are likely to find.
It's worth noting that Mycokey uses the keys from the first edition of Funga Nordica (which you get if you pay for the full version of Mycokey)
I've found it useful, especially when I see something and I think it looks familiar but can't quite place it: its quite nice to have a synoptic way of getting to genus, so you enter what you know, eg white-spored, growing on soil, has a ring, scaly cap, and the number of possible genera goes quite low, and it's come up trumps a number of times.
http://www.mycokey.com/newMycoKeySite/M ... Quick.html
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Lee Dingain
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Re: Waxcaps?

Post by Lee Dingain » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:40 pm

Hi Roy and Chris,

Thank you so much for some really superb advice and great encouragement! I've actually copied both of your posts into my notes because you've provided some really useful information that I'll want to refer to such as the keys and book titles (thanks Roy), and I'll be back on my local birding patch tomorrow (looking for fungi mainly) and will be searching for the bramble rusts.

I feel like learning about fungi is one step forward 3/4 of a step back much of the time but as you say Chris, experience is the key and as a notive I've online resources invaluable, especially in pointing me in the general direction for a fungus I don't know where to start on.

The microscopes I've been looking at are:
    F2000 40X-2000X Routine Grade from GT Vision: https://www.gtvision.co.uk/epages/es141 ... ducts/0710
      Apex Researcher: http://www.apexmicroscopes.co.uk/apexresearcher.html

      I'm taking my time choosing as I want to make sure I get something that is good for mycology. If either of you have any views on these scopes or other suggestions I'd love to hear from you.

      Thanks once again for your help with my endless questions.

      Cheers,
      Lee

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