Saturday, 19 February 2011

Kilpatrick Hills, West Dunbartonshire

I went to the disused curling pond below the Mohican Woods to look for mating Common Frogs (Rana temporaria) - I normally miss them due to the miserable February weather.

Mohican Woods
Mohican Woods
Ferns in the Mohican Woods

No frogs at the curling pond, but I did find a large clump of frogspawn.

Common Frog (Rana temporaria) eggs
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)
Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) bud

Coral Spot (Nectria cinnabarina) - conidial state

Yellow Brain fungus (Tremella mesenterica)

Yellow Brain fungus (Tremella mesenterica) was growing profusely on bare Gorse branches near Little Round Top Wood. This fungus is an obligate parasite on other fungi (Periophora sp.).

Hazel (Corylus avellana) catkins (the male flowers)

Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus)

At Little Round Top Wood, on a massive toppled Ash tree, I found some Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). These are the oyster mushrooms encountered in supermarkets and are amongst the best edible wild mushrooms (in my opinion, better-tasting than the bland 'table mushrooms').

Oyster Mushrooms contain lovastatin, a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor which lowers cholesterol levels (high cholesterol is a major cause of cardiovascular disease).

Pleurotus species are both saprotrophic and carnivorous - they feed by secreting digestive enzymes from a microscopic network of 'roots' known as hyphae which digest rotting wood and nematode worms (which are first paralysed by a secreted toxin and then digested alive from the inside by hyphae which enter orifices).