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Falkland Islands: Fungi stamps 2014

Falkland Islands: Fungi stamps 2014
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30p False Chanterelle Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca

This fungi belongs to the family Hygrophoropsidaceae in the order Boletales and was first described by the Austrian priest and naturalist Franz Xaver Freiherr Von Wulfen
in 1781.

The specific name aurantiaca is a reference to its orange colouring. Hygrophorus from the Greek Hygro meaning “moist” and Phorus to “bear” which could be loosely translated as “water carrier”. As this fungus develops the cap forms a funnel shape with a distinctive lip which curves outwards resembling a Hydriai or Greek water jar, from which this fungi probably gets its name.

The False Chanterelle is a gilled boletoid which can easily be mistaken for the highly prized gourmet Chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius which has ridges instead of gills. Found in Britain, mainland Europe and North America it is fairly common in the Falkland Islands. A saprobic fungi it is generally found growing on acid grass-lands and heathland.

75p Red Wax Cap Hygrocybe sp

The genus Hygrocybe belongs to the family Hygrophoraceae in the order Agaricales. The name Hygrocybe means “watery head” and these fungi are so named because the cap is generally very moist often with a glossy appearance.

The Hygrophoraceae or the Wax Gill family contain some of the most striking and colourful mushrooms. The Wax Gills fall into two general groups, either brightly coloured as shown in this bright red species or white to dull-coloured. All have thick waxy gills which gives them their common name.

In the Falkland Islands this fungi may be found growing in generally moist grass and heath areas. In this illustration the fungi is shown growing amongst Creeping Pratia Pratia repens a plant also found growing in moist areas.

£1.00 Clustered Domecap Lyophyllum sp

One of the true mushrooms or toadstools this species from the family Lyophyllaceae in the order Agaricales was first described in 1818 by the Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries. This species is found throughout Europe and in many other parts of the world.

This gregarious mushroom forms tight clumps with caps and stems appearing to fuse together. From a distance these clumps can be mistaken for patches of horse dung. The species can vary greatly in both size and colour. The specimens from which this stamp illustration were taken varied in colour from a deep red brown to light buff and with 2 -3 cm to 7 – 8 cm cap size.

In the Falkland Islands this mushroom is not common but is generally found growing in grass-land and appears in late Autumn or in early Winter.

£1.20 Shaggy Inkcap Coprinus comatus

This fungi belongs to the family Agaricaceae in the order Agaricales and was first described in 1780 by the Danish biologist Otto Friedrich Muller (1730-1784).

The genetic name Coprinus meaning “dung” or “living on dung” which is true of many Ink Caps, but not particularly apt for this species which not only grows in large groups in dung enriched grasslands but also along verges and even on footpaths. The species is widespread in Britain, on mainland Europe, the Mediterranean and North America. In the Falklands it grows in isolated patches in grassland or wasteland and appears during late Autumn.

The specific name Comatus means “hairy” a reference to the shaggy scales that stand out from the cap surface as it develops hence its other common name Lawyer’s Wig. Perhaps because of the damper conditions in the areas it grows in the Falkland Islands the scales are not so evident on this species found in these Islands.

The cap is initially an elongated egg shape and white but as the fungi develops the cap opens to form a bell shape with rust red patches. Very quickly, often within a few hours, the lower edges of the cap turns black and “deliquesce” - liquefy or auto-digest - into a black sticky mass which drops to the ground carrying the spores with it. Within days the only evidence remaining of this fungi are black sticky patches on the ground.

In days gone by the liquefying caps were collected and boiled with cloves to produce a black drawing ink, hence the fungi name Ink Cap.

Information by Ian J. Strange with special thanks to Tom Eggeling, formally Head of the Falkland Islands Government Environmental Planning Department and Professor Roy Watling former Head of Mycology and Plant Pathology Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh. Dr Paul Cannon of the Mycology Department Royal Botanical Gardens Kew also gave assistance in identifying specimens.

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