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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

Fungi at Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens. 08.11.22

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

I visited Leornardslee Lakes and Garden to see the wallabies, deer, the beautiful colours of its autumn trees, and its fungi. Leornardslee is geographically part of the historic ancient St Leonard's Forest; see St Leonard's Forest - Wikipedia, and is in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Welcome to the High Weald, but it far from a "natural" landscape, as it was transformed by the Loder Family into woodland garden with many introduced flowing plants, tees and animals.

The transformation of Leonardslee into the wide array of flora and fauna that we see today can be best attributed to the Loder family. Sir Robert Loder purchases High Beeches in around 1847 and his son Sir Edmund Loder acquires Leonardslee in 1889 from his father-in-law William Hubbard. Three years later, Robert’s brother Gerald buys Wakehurst. All three of these famous woodland gardens [planted with an array of non-native trees] are open to the public today.

The year 1901 marked the beginning of Leonardslee’s famous rhododendron collection. Loder created the loderi hybrids, ... Loder also introduced wild animals to Leonardslee including a colony of wallabies whose descendants are still around today after over 100 years on the estate. We are lucky that wallabies don’t eat rhododendrons! Other animals introduced included ostriches, capybaras, ibex, springboks, gazelles, antelopes and beavers in the lakes – all gone now, sadly. History of Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens | Leonardslee Gardens

The gardens are on Wealden clay and has ghylls running through it. The lakes are human-made, initially to power mills for the Whealden iron industry and then for landscaping purposes.

I saw a large range of fungi, mostly growing on dead wood. It is difficult to assess whether what I saw was typical for a Wealden wooded area as many of the trees in the gardens are introduced species, as well as the ancient trees of St Leornards Forest: The gardens consist of over 15,000 Rhododendrons, 8,000 Azaleas and 15,000 other trees including giant Californian Redwoods and over 30 species of Eucalyptus. In the ancient woodland there are trees over 500 years. A garden designer's delight - Leonardslee Gardens - Garden Design Sussex (

I travelled to the gardens by bus. The Stagecoach 17 bus from Brighton stops outside the gardens. The bus is an hourly service from Brighton and the journey time is ca. 65 minutes, see: 17 Bus Route & Timetable: Brighton - Horsham | Stagecoach (

This post is focussed on fungi. This post is an attempt to identify all the fungi that I saw during my visit. I also photographed a few lichens and mosses. Another post contains photos of the landscape, trees and animals of Leornardslee Gardens

I am new to the identification of fungi, lichens and bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). Thus far I have only made tentative identifications on the fungi, lichen and bryophytes I saw. The identifications I have made of these species may be wrong! I will update this post as I learn more! This post is a work in progress: a few species I have not been able to identify at all yet.

I used these resources:

Stefan Buczacki, Chris Shields, Denys W Ovenden (2013) Collins Fungi Guide

Frank S Dobson (2018) Lichens: An illustrated guide to the British and Irish species

Ian Atherton, Sam Bosanquet, Mark Lawley (2019) Mosses and Liverworts of Britian and Ireland; a field guide

I have also used the Obsidentify App Mission -

and the websites:

The photographs are in the chronological order of my walk rather than in categories.

All sections of text in italics are quotes, sources cited.

Possibly, Southern Bracket, Ganoderma australe

Ganoderma australe is a common perennial bracket fungus that causes white heart rot in trees of the genera Tilia (limes), Quercus (oaks), Fagus (beech, birch etc), Platanus (Sycamore etc) and Aesculus (Horse Chestnut and relatives). In the early stages of colonisation it is thought to be a parasitic fungus, but as the tree dies it becomes saprobic [ [i.e. feeds on dead or decaying organic matter], as most parasitic fungi do. The perennial fruitbodies of Gamoderma australe appear mainly on the lower trunk, most often near to the base. Ganoderma australe, Southern Bracket fungus (

Jelly Rot, Phlebia tremellosa

Possibly Wood Blewit, Lepista nuda

Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum

Possibly young Sphaerobolus stellatus

Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum hirsutum

Probably mature Glistening Inkcap, Coprinellus micaceus

Parasol Mushroom, Macrolepiota procara

The specific epithet procera means tall, an adjective wholly appropriate to these stately mushrooms, Macrolepiota procera, Parasol Mushroom, identification (

It is a basidiomycete fungus with a large, prominent fruiting body resembling a parasol. It is a fairly common species on well-drained soils. It is found solitary or in groups and fairy rings in pastures and occasionally in woodland. Globally, it is widespread in temperate regions. Macrolepiota procera - Wikipedia

Probably, Leccinum duriusculum, a bolete mushroom

Turkeytail, Trametes versicolor

Possibly White Fibrecap, Inocybe geophylla

To be identified

To be idenitified

Possibly Blushing Milkcap, Lactarius controversus,

Hairy Curtain Crust, or False Turkeytail, Stereum hirsutum; growing on a wooden sculptured mushroom

Possible young specimens of White-egg bird's nest; Common bird's

nest, Crucibulum crucibuliforme

Birch polypore, Piptoporus betulinus

The birch polypore only grows on Birch trees. This leathery bracket fungus has a rounded, coffee-coloured cap that was once used for sharpening tools, hence its other name: the 'Razorstrop fungus'. Birch polypore | The Wildlife Trusts

Yellowing Curtain Crust, Stereum subtomentosum

Easily confused with Trametes versicolor, the Turkeytail bracket fungus (which differs from Stereum species, however, by having tiny shallow pores on its fertile undersurface), this rather uncommon bracket grows on dead hardwood, and most commonly on Beech.

Like many other crust fungi, Stereum subtomentosum can be found throughout the year; however, its period of sporulation (releasing spores) is limited to the summer and autumn.


Yellowing Curtain Crust is found throughout Britain, but it is most common in southern England and a much less frequent sight in Scotland and Wales. This species occurs also on mainland Europe, from Scandinavia down to Spain, and it has also been recorded in parts of North America.

Taxonomic history

This fungus was described as a unique species in 1964 and given its current scientific name Stereum subtomentosum by the Czeck mycologist and polypores specialist Zdeněk Pouzar (b. 1932). Prior to this it had been treated as a subspecies of other Stereum fungi - for example in 1874 Elias Magnus Fries referred to it as Stereum ochroleucum subsp. arcticum, which is now treated as a valid synonym of Stereum subtomentosum.


Stereum, the generic name, means tough, and crust fungi in this genus certainly can be difficult to tear when you want to take a small sample for investigation. If you scratch the surface of this fungus it will turn yellow - hence the common name Yellowing Curtain Crust. The specific epithet subtomentosum comes from sub- meaning less than (in the sense of only slightly) and -tomentosum, meaning hairy or downy. Yellowing Curtain Crust is indeed much less hairy than Stereum hirsutum, which is known as Hairy Curtain Crust. Stereum subtomentosum Yellowing Curtain Crust identification (

Dried fern fronds on a tree stump.

Turekytail, Tramestes versicolor

Trametes versicolor, Turkeytail fungus (formerly known as the Many-Zoned Polypore) can be found all through the year, but it is most obvious in the winter months when deciduous trees are bare. This very variable fungus grows mainly on dead hardwood, including stumps and standing dead trees as well as fallen branches. Some specimens are strikingly vivid in their colouring. Trametes versicolor, Turkeytail fungus (

Trametes, the genus name, comes from the prefix tram- meaning thin and -etes meaning 'one who is' - hence the implication is that fruitbodies of fungi in this genus are thin in section

The specific epithet versicolor means 'of several colours', a descriptive name that is fully justified not only by the variability of colouring from specimen to specimen but also the presence of several colour bands on the upper surface of a single fruitbody. Trametes versicolor, Turkeytail fungus (

Common Greenshield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperator on Cypress-leaved plaitmos, Hypnum cupressiforme. Probably the most common variety in many areas is H. cupressiforme var. cupressiforme which often covers entire tree trunks or branches, growing in extensive mats. Its shoots lie flat to the tree and are a mid-green, sometimes tinged brownish and irregularly branched. It also grows on decaying wood and rock. The leaves are untoothed, lack an obvious nerve, are turned to one side (especially at the shoot tips) and overlap, giving rise to its common name. The shoots look quite smooth and shiny from above. Hypnum cupressiforme - British Bryological Society

Common Greenshield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperator

A conspicuous medium to large leafy lichen, it is pale grey when dry and yellow green when wet. It has rounded lobes, measuring 3 to 8 mm wide, and these often have a wrinkled appearance, especially in older specimens, looking like molten wax. Common Greenshield Lichen | NatureSpot

Wrinkled Crust, Phlebia radiata

This is a resupinate [a mushroom lacking a pileus, that is consisting of just a fertile surface with its back attached to or intergrown with the substrate resupinate ( fungus (most parts are firmly attached to the substrate but some edges may be free); it grows as circular crusts up to typically 10cm across and 1-3mm thick, but many fruitbodies can merge to form much larger patches. When young, the fruitbodies usually have pink fertile (outer) surfaces, much paler at the margin. Phlebia radiata, Wrinkled Crust fungus (

Proably, Common Greenshield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata On Cypress-leaved Plait- Moss.

Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum Hirsuitem

Stereum, the generic name, means tough, and crust fungi in this genus certainly can be difficult to tear when you want to take a small sample for investigation. The specific epithet hirsutum means hairy (hirsute, indeed!), and the upper surfaces of these irregularly-shaped tiered brackets are distinctly hairy when the fruitbodies are young and fresh; however, they do become smoother with age.

The common name Hairy Curtain Crust reflects (in the 'curtain' part) the rippled form of edges of the fruitbodies, which do look like partly-drawn curtains; however, it's very much more common to see this species growing in the form of tiers of reflexed crusts or brackets, particularly on standing dead wood, than as resupinate crusts (although the latter form does occur, and I see this most often on the ends and vertical faces of stacked sawn timber). Stereum hirsutum, Hairy Curtain Crust fungus (

Possibly Variable Oysterling, Crepidotus variabilis

Probably a rim-lichen: Lecanora is a genus of lichen commonly called rim lichens.[1]: 279 [2] Lichens in the genus Squamarina are also called rim lichens. Members of the genus have roughly circular fruiting discs (apothecia) with rims that have photosynthetic tissue similar to that of the nonfruiting part of the lichen body (thallus).Other lichens with apothecia having margins made of thallus-like tissue are called lecanorine. Rim Lichens (Genus Lecanora) · iNaturalist United Kingdom possibly, Lecanora expallens

Thallus [a plant body that is not differentiated into stem and leaves and lacks true roots and a vascular system. Thalli are typical of algae, fungi, lichens, and some liverworts., OED] effuse and granular to rimose, usually forming circular to elongate patches, yellow-green, sometimes with radially orientated crystals evident on the surface. Soredia [common reproductive structures of lichens. Lichens reproduce asexually by employing simple fragmentation and production of soredia and isidia.Soredia are powdery propagules composed of fungalhyphae wrapped around cyanobacteria or green algae, Soredium - Wikipedia] initially arising from discrete, somewhat excavate, lens-shaped soralia 100-300 µm in size, soon becoming confluent to make a continuous sorediate crust, farinose, pale- to lemon yellow. Prothallus inconspicuous or when on smooth bark blue-grey. Lecanora expallens (

Probably an Inocybe species. All are Mycorrhizal: Mycorrhizas are fungal associations between plant roots and beneficial fungi. The fungi effectively extend the root area of plants and are extremely important to most wild plants Mycorrhizal fungi / RHS Gardening

A Tricholoma genus toadstool, possibly (but unlikekly) a Dark Scaled Knight, Tricholoma atrosquamosumm

A rare find in Britain and Ireland, Tricholoma atrosquamosum var. squarrulosum is a mycorrhizal mushroom of mainly deciduous woodland in areas of alkaline soil. Some authorities treat this mainly southern-Europe mushroom as a separate species Tricholoma squarrulosum (by which name it is generally referred to in the USA) because the autonomous variety found in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe (and probably not authentically recorded from Britain or Ireland) Tricholoma atrosquamosum var. atrosquamosum has significantly smaller spores and a stem with very few black scales.

Knights (Tricholoma species) are sometimes difficult to identify with absolute certainty, and unless studied very carefully less scaly specimens of Tricholoma atrosquamosum could easily be confused with other dark-grey knights such as Tricholoma terreum.

Being a mycorrhizal mushroom, the fruitbodies recur in the same location year after year; however, in Britain relatively few such locations are known, mainly in southern parts of England and Wales. This beautiful mushroom occurs also in many parts of central and southern mainland Europe and in some parts of North America. Tricholoma atrosquamosum, Dark Scaled Knight (

Common Haircap, Polytrichum commune

Well-grown, large, hummocks or turfs of this species are unmistakable. They consist of tough, wiry shoots up to 40 cm long (usually about 20 cm). When moist, the 8–12 mm long, narrowly spearhead-shaped leaves spread or strongly curve away from the stem, with a glossy sheathing base, giving a starry appearance viewed from above. When dry, the margins become inrolled, wavy and gently twist around the stems. The margins are sharply toothed, and the broad nerve is covered with up to 70 ridges of tissue. The leaves surrounding the base of the seta are longly tapering and toothed above. The 4-angled, box-like capsule, produced in summer, is borne on a long (to 12 cm), reddish seta. It is erect when young, becoming inclined to horizontal with age; its lid is shortly beaked. The young capsule is covered by a long, golden brown, hairy calyptra.

Found in a wide range of damp, acidic habitats, tolerating shade and moderate amounts of pollution and nutrient enrichment. It often abounds on wet moors in the uplands, but is also frequent throughout western, lowland Britain in wet woodlands, bogs, ditches, by lake margins, on heaths, etc. In the drier south-east it is perhaps most frequent in old gravel pits and sand pits by pools under willow and birch scrub. Polytrichum-commune-var.-commune.pdf (

Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria

Famous, enchanting and highly toxic. Fly agaric is the home of fairies and magical creatures and a lover of birch woodland, where it helps trees by transferring nutrients into their roots Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) - Woodland Trust

Hairy Curtain Crust, Stereum Hirsutum

No matter how many of these attractive bracket fungi you see, there will always be another Stereum hirsutum with significantly different coloration. The variability of this fungus makes its identification at first rather difficult. Stereum hirsutum, Hairy Curtain Crust fungus (

Brick Tuft, Hypholoma lateritium; growing on a dead tree stump next to one of the lakes

If it were not for the striking brick-red colour and large size of the caps, these rather uncommon wood-rotting fungi might easily be passed by, for they are in other respects similar to Sulphur Tufts and several other common tuft-forming woodland species.

Brick Tufts are much redder than Sulphur Tufts (Hypholoma fasciculare) and when fully developed they are very much larger than the orange Conifer Tufts (H. capnoides),

In Britain and Ireland the Brick cap is unfortunately less common than its less flamboyant close relatives, but this species is widely distributed throughout Britain and Ireland. Brick Caps occur throughout most of mainland Europe and are also recorded in the USA and Japan. Hypholoma lateritium (sublateritium), Brick Tuft mushroom (

Left (brown): possibly a Pleurotus sp. (oyster mushrooms)

Right (white): possibly Peeling Oysterling, Crepidotus mollis

Possibly a Leccinum species

Fungi deliquescing (become liquid, typically during decomposition).

Redlead Roundhead, Leratiomyces ceres

This attractive little mushroom has become much more common now that parks and gardens are mulched with woodchip. In sandy pine forests, particularly in sheltered coastal areas, Redlead Roundheads can occasionally be found growing in grassy areas rich in needle litter and sawdust. Leratiomyces ceres Redlead Roundhead identification (

Jelly Rot, Phlebia tremellosa

A wood-rotting crust fungus of fallen trunks and branches from deciduous hardwoods and occasionally conifers, this attractive species produces its spores on the wrinkled outer surface (which becomes the underside of reflexed upper edges). Jelly Rot is fairly common in Britain and Ireland. Phlebia tremellosa, Jelly Rot fungus (

Probably Gloeoporus dichrous

Ecology: Saprobic [Mushrooms that are saprobes survive by decomposing dead or decaying organic material and using it as food. Many wood-rotting fungi are saprobes, and help decompose deadwood—but other wood rotters are parasitic and attack living wood Glossary (MushroomExpert.Com) on the deadwood of hardwoods and, rarely, conifers; sometimes reported on the decaying fruiting bodies of other dead polypores ... causing a white rot; usually growing gregariously; annual; spring through fall (and over winter in warm climates); ...

Cap: Often present and fairly well developed, but sometimes absent or present merely as a turned-over edge above the pore surface; shelf-like and fused laterally with other caps, or kidney-shaped to semicircular; up to about 6 cm wide individually; velvety to finely hairy or nearly bald when mature; with or without concentric zones of texture; creamy to white.

Pore Surface: Reddish brown to orange-brown when young, becoming browner with age (and purplish brown when dried); with concentric bands of color shades; often covered with a whitish bloom; with 4-6 round to angular pores per mm; tubes up to about 1 mm deep, gelatinous to rubbery, separable as a layer when fresh. Gloeoporus dichrous (MushroomExpert.Com)

Pinecone; Martime Pine, possibly with Elder Whitewash, Hyphodontia sambuci

Moss: possibly Cypress-leaved Plait-moss, Hypnum cupressiforme



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