The Maritime Lichen Xanthoria parietina
is well named as it festoons the stems of the Shrubby Seablite Sueda vera
that grows almost along the high tide edge at Bradwell, surviving the constant mist of sea spray blown across it by the breeze - and even the occasional inundation during storm tides. It provides a welcome touch of colour on even the drabbest winter days. As for Cushion Bracket, it has recently begun to attack some of the more aged (50-60 year old) Blackthorn bushes at Stow Maries Halt EWT Reserve. It will probably kill them in the end, as it has done the old Greengage trees in the grounds of Linnet's Cottage at Bradwell. A shame, as they are a very old variety with a taste like bliss, rich in natural sugars, especially when warmed by the sun. Two other bracket fungi that are very common at the moment are Turkey Tail Trametes versicolor
, which is weakly parasitic, and Bitter Oysterling Panellus stipticus
, which is entirely saprophytic, the one photographed at Mill Green, the other at Thrift Wood, Bicnacre.
April may be "the cruelest" month according to the poet, whose name escapes me, but I would plump for February myself. The weather is often chill and dull - earth and sky often merging beneath a grey shroud - and the mind, starved of colour, longs for a spring that never seems to be getting any nearer! It's being so cheerful that keeps me going! Still, there are a few signs to give me hope; these Hazel catkins shedding their pollen on the breeze for instance, and the first wild Primroses of the year at Mill Green.
However, just in case I begin to sound too cheerful I would like to report the first success of the Tidy Minded Brigade seen so far in 2013. They have just mowed the Primroses on Battlesbridge Railway Station - bless them! I'm sure it looks much better without all that colour.............