Spring is proving slow to arrive, but it’s getting better. So when the mood takes you, get out on a woodland walk to find yourself some springtime fungi. But in this case, keep your eyes peeled for some pretty spring flowers – you may find some small surprises there!
One of the first flowers to bloom are the Anemone, especially the daisy-like Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda), also known as the Winter Windflower or Balkan Anemone. They appear in violet-blue, pink or white varieties and are very attractive. They often carpet woodland clearings, forming extensive colonies via their underground rooting system.
Enlarged structures on their roots (called tubers) are storage organs containing nutrients for their perennial rebirth. It’s here, attached to their underground tubers, that the fungus’ resting body of hyphal threads remains dorment (sclerotum), until ready to produce the Anemone Cup (Dumontinia tuberosa), the only member of the Dumontinia genus.
Being a cup fungi it comes as no surprise as to the shape of these small fruiting bodies; but they’re so deeply ‘cupped’ they seem to have more of a bowl or goblet-like appearance. They have rich tan-brown colouring and will expand flatter with age, usually in an irregular fashion. Their appearance at this time may lead you to believe they could be small Jelly Ear fungi, which is quite understandable when you see them.
The images shown below only show you a small part of the dark black/brown stem. They’re actually rooted beneath the soil (attached to the tubers of the flower) and can be up to 10cm in length. I’ll try and get a photo of this for next time if I’m lucky enough, as these fungi are considered rare, but this is probably due to the fact that they are often overlooked.
No doubt you’ll be more interested in finding Morels for the pan this spring, but it’s always worth a peep amongst these beautiful flowers to see if you can spot one or two; they’ll be around until the middle of May. Happy hunting.
QUICK ID TABLE: ANEMONE CUP Dumontinia tuberosa
1-3cm across. Deeply cup-shaped, expanding with age. Tan brown colouring.
Long, dark brown/black brown and smooth. Rooting; up to 10cm long.
HABITAT / SEASON
In soil of open woodland. A parasite of the Anemone flower species and sometimes Ranunculus (buttercups, spearworts, water crowfoots etc). Early Spring. Rare.