Our Projects

Updating the fungal checklist for Surrey

A county checklist was published by R.W.G. Dennis, as a part of his book, Fungi of South East England (RBG Kew, 1995), based on Kew’s collections and on historic references. This list needs updating.
     There is a number of organizations, i.e. museums, botanic gardens, local and national biological and natural history societies, fungus groups, and so on, which potentially hold their own datasets of fungi recorded from Surrey. These need to be located and collated for publication.
     A number of celebrated mycologists have worked in Surrey and accumulated records and herbarium specimens. Most of the notable Surrey specimens are held at Kew’s Fungarium (formerly known as Mycology Herbarium), though many remain to be databased.

Surrey Fungi Bibliography

This project identifies existing publications which contain records of Surrey fungi. These records will be extracted and databased separately from those of fresh material. Eventually they will be collated to produce a Surrey checklist.
[Surrey Bibliography - in prep.]

Recording the Fungi in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The fungi growing in Kew Gardens have been recorded for at least 140 years. A first list was produced by George Massee in 1897, based largely on records made by himself and by Mordecai Cooke. This was updated and included in an ‘all taxa’ publication in 1906, The Wild Fauna and Flora of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Kew Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, Additional Series 5). Massee’s list contained 1742 species, by far the largest number recorded anywhere in the world at the time for an area of comparable size (c. 100 hectares).
     R.W.G. Dennis, head of the Mycology Section 1944 – 1975, added many specimens to the Fungarium which were important in compiling his Fungi of South East England (1995), though he did not publish Kew records separately. Records of the garden’s fungi appeared intermittently in Kew Bulletin, in the Wild Fauna and Flora series.
     Since 2001 the project has been adopted by Alick Henrici, who has amalgamated all the names of fungi published previously and contemporary records from his time, into one species list, including the lichens (lichenized Ascomycetes). Many of the species on Massee’s 1906 list have since been synonymised, but with more species added, the list grows continuously. Both those established outdoors and glasshouse aliens are included. Maintained by Alick the current list stands at some 2750 species; however, 600 of them have not been recorded in recent years. Kew’s outdoor list is one of the key elements of the Surrey mycota.
     An annotated list of Kew’s lichens was published in 2009 (London Naturalist 88).

 (Alick Henrici)

Our Aims
Our Projects
Our Activities
Our Constitution
Who Are We?
Ramaria Ramaria sp., spores resemble those of R. curta but
fruitbody not bruising, scale bar = 10 mm, Kew,
10/09/2010 © M. Parslow

Recording the Fungi of Esher Common

This area, including Esher Common, Oxshott Heath, West End Common, Arbrook Common, Fairmile Common, and Winterdown Wood, covers over 900 acres, and largely comprises acid, sandy soils (Bagshot Sands) supporting heathland as well as a wide range of other terrestrial and aquatic habitats. These include both ancient and secondary woodland composed particularly of hornbeam, oak and beech, with much pine and birch, both of the latter being invasive onto the managed heathland. London Clay outcrops to the east of the area at Arbrook Common. Aquatic habitats include ponds, notably Black Pond to the north-west, streams, a spring line and bog, plus the bank of the river Mole. These areas often support alder and crack willow, while sallows (mostly rusty sallow) or goat willow are dominant in places. Almost the entire area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and parts also as a Local Nature Reserve.
     The area has long been a focus for naturalists and, despite the invasion of much of the heathland by pines and birches, it still has great potential. At least 9000 species of all groups of living organisms have been recorded to date, including many national rarities. Parts of the area are of national importance for their saproxylic beetles (i.e. ones that live on rotten wood). The fungi especially have been extensively documented, with early reports going back well over a century and the site remains mycologically the most comprehensively recorded in Britain and perhaps worldwide for a limited area. Earliest records of fungi from here, including lichens, were collated in the Victoria County History of Surrey (1902), although localities for the non-lichenised species were omitted in this reference. Regular field meetings of the South London Entomological and Natural History Society were held at Oxshott over many years, mainly between 1888 and 1968. These meetings included numerous fungus forays, sometimes led by national figures such as John Ramsbottom, with lists of species published in subsequent reports. These records have been considerably extended in recent years with greater emphasis on microfungi and lichens, which has seen the species total increased from a little over 800 in 1992 to around 3,300 currently. Amongst these are various species which have previously been undescribed, and those first recorded for Britain such as Hebelomina neerlandica* (first found in 1984) and the curious Aseroe rubra, (found in 1993), and a wide range of species first recorded for the county. Nevertheless, there still remain many habitats and specialist fungal groups which have received little attention, so that many additional species are expected to be found while our study progresses.

(* Vesterholt, in his The genus Hebeloma (2005), considered Hebelomina Maire as a likely synonym of Hebeloma. Hebelomina neerlandica belongs elsewhere, and, according to Vesterholt, is likely to be an albinistic Gymnopilus.)

  (Brian Spooner)