Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fungi of Ireland

Ireland Post has chosen the subject for 2008 flora-fauna stamp to be issued is Fungi. They issued four stamps, one in souvenir sheet and others in single forms on August 1, 2008. Illustrated by Ian Loe, each of the four stamps features a species of fungus found in Ireland, such as: the Pink Waxcap (Hygrocybe calyptriformis), the Parasol (Macrolepiota procera), the Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle) and the Scarlet Elfcup (Sacoscypha austriaca).

The parasol (Macrolepiota procera) is a basidiomycete fungus with a large, prominent fruiting body resembling a lady's parasol. The parasol (Macrolepiota procera) is a striking, elegant mushroom reaching height of 40 cm with caps expanded to 25 cm. It is found solitary or in groups and fairy rings in pastures and occasionally in woodland. 

Globally, it is widespread in temperate regions.It is an excellent edible fungus but needs to be distinguished from its look-alike, the Shaggy Parasol, to which some individuals are allergic.

The Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle) is a common, edible mushroom (given the right preparation) in the genus Leccinum.The Orange Birch Bolete is a mycorrhizal fungus, and as its name implies associates with birch trees in woodland and scrub. 

It is a large robust mushroom, with a mature cap reaching 20 cm in diameter and stems also to 20 cm. The Orange Birch Bolete do not have gills but instead have a sponge-like structure with pores within which the spores are produced.

The Pink Waxcap or Hygrocybe calyptriformis is a species of agaric (gilled mushroom) in the family Hygrophoraceae.It typically produces basidiocarps (fruit bodies) in the autumn.

The Pink Waxcap is one of a colorful waxcap mushrooms, so-called because of their greasy, wax texture. They are found in unimproved permanent grassland and can include lawn, meadows, grazed pastures, graveyards and woodland margins.

The population of these fungi are under threat because of agricultural improvement to their natural habitat. In many European countries, The Pink Waxcap is of conservation concern, appearing on national red lists of threatened fungi included the Republic of Ireland.


The Scarled Elfcup or Sarcoscypha coccinea, is a species of fungus in the Sarcoscyphaceae family of the Pezizales order.The cup-shaped fruit bodies are usually produced during the cooler months of winter and early spring. The brilliant red interior of the cups—from which both the common and scientific names are derived—contrasts with the lighter-colored exterior. The red fruit bodies , ranging in size from 1 cm to 5 cm in diameter, can often be seen in the woods before spring growth commences.

It grows on dead wood, mostly on damp branches or twigs of hardwood species, often in woods in stream valleys.The edibility of the fruit bodies is not clearly established, but its small size, tough texture and insubstantial fruitings would dissuade most people from collecting for the table.

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