Stuart and I happened upon two mushroom enthusiasts at the weekend. Nicola Alcorn and Paul Hagan had returned to the public path by our site to check out some mushrooms they had seen before. Nicola has been kind enough to send me this account of their find.
“This fungus has been tentatively identified as Barometer earth star. – scientific name- Astraeus hydrometricus. Usually found on sandy dry soils under mixed broadleaved trees. Identifying features include large brown spores ( under microscopy) outer felty surface and as humidity changes arms of the star ( can be 7,8 or more) will open and close.”
Paul sent this photo:
Further searching revealed a number of other examples along the path edge.
Nicola and Paul have sent photos and a specimen to the national Mycological expert, Liz Holden believing that if they are correct she may send them on to Kew for verification as this may be a first confirmed example in Scotland.
Fingers crossed, Garthdee Field may be on the map as a site of something very special – as well as for its excellent plots and fine veggies of course! Just as well, perhaps as the Barometer earth stars don’t make for good eating apparently.