A tiny candlesnuff fungus, Xylaria hypoxylon, growing in the rotting wood and moss of the old willow tree (number 5477 ) by the footpath alongside the Lambrok Tributary.
It is known by a variety of common names, such as the candlestick fungus, carbon antlers, or the stag’s horn fungus. We prefer to call it candlesnuff fungus firstly because in its early stage, the fruiting body looks like a candle’s wick that has been blown out and secondly, because the name stag’s horn has been taken by the genus Calocera, a type of coral fungus,
To orchard growers and the managers of commercial woodland, the candlesnuff fungus is an unwelcome pathogen that causes white rot. But new research has discovered that Xylaria hypoxylon has significant medicinal properties; it is both anti-viral and active against tumours.
It is just one of a whole garden of plants, mosses and fungi that live in and on our ancient willows.
Pictures taken in the park by Suzanne Humphries