Friends of Duchess Wood

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Wildlife in Duchess Wood

 Fungi in Duchess Wood

(Fungi is the name for a group of living organisms that includes mushrooms, toadstalls and moulds. Unlike plants, fungi cannot make their own food. Instead, they absorb their food from the surrounding environment)

An initial survey of Duchess Wood in November 2008 identified 47 species (types) of macrofungi. Two species were particularly noteworthy: hoof fungus or tinder bracket and split gill.

Neville Kilkenny is a British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) young apprentice and his speciality is fungi. Neville spent a day in Duchess Wood identifying fungi found in different locations (habitats) and surfaces or substrates and he produced a report which notes his key findings and recommendations for managing Duchess Wood to assist in maintaining as well as developing the diversity of fungi in the wood.

Hoof fungus or tinder bracket, as it is otherwise known, was an unexpected find in Duchess Wood. Although this is a common fungus, it is usually found in north-eastern Scotland and only one other record of this species has been made in Argyll and Bute, and that was in Loch Lomond 28 years ago!

Split gill was also found in an unusual location, but not so much on where but on what. Split gill usually grows on modified substrates, such as silage, straw bales or exotic imported timber. However, this fungus was found growing on a natural, unmodified substrate – in this case a felled sycamore tree.

Neville noted that “the majority of species recorded were found on lignicolous substrates [dead wood], which would be expected for the time of year when the survey was undertaken”. He went onto note that “it also reflects a favourable quantity of dead wood habitat being available within the site”.

Neville will be returning to Duchess Wood on 22 August 2009 to do another survey of the wood, but this time focusing on fruiting species of fungus that will be found at that time of the year.  He will also be leading a ‘fungal foray’ where he will teach fungal identification skills to participants.

If you are interested in finding out more about the fungal foray, please email, or watch this space!

See wildlife Checklist page to download the Fungi Checklist.

Bryophytes in Duchess Wood

Bryophyte is the collective name for mosses and liverworts.

A survey of the wood during February 2009 identified 78 species of bryophytes - 
45 mosses and 33 liverworts. Most of these bryophytes would be expected in a broad leaf and conifer woodland. 
Remarkably, 8 of the species were new Vice County records. This means that these species have not been recorded in the area before.  Maren Flagmeier said that this stresses the fact that Duchess Wood, which is a small woodland site, "is really quite unique in its surroundings".
Even more excitingly, one of these new Vice County records is the liverwort Aneura 'euromaxima' (proposed name) (see photo), which is new to science and is currently being described by David Long and colleagues, who found it at some other sites in Scotland.
Given the species recorded in Duchess Wood, care should be taken to manage the wood sensitively to allow the current brypohyte species to flourish and new species to establish. In the report, Maren Flagmeier suggests some management strategies that will benefit the bryophytes in Duchess Wood.
Download the full brypohyte report and species list.
See wildlife Checklist page to download the Bryophyte Checklist.

Other Wildlife Surveys are in Progress

Checklists of birds, trees, ferns, fungi and bryophytes are available to download from the Checklist page - click here
As Friends of Duchess Wood matures, we will develop this wildlife page.  In the near future, we will add checklists of species from other wildlife groups, eg., plants, mammals, insects etc. 
If you have a wildlife expertise and would be interested surveying the wood, please contact us on
Friends of Duchess Wood
(Charity Number SC039527)
Last updated: 09 March 2015