Hainault Forest Website

   Written and Designed by Brian Ecott   

 Myxomycetes - Slime moulds


Dictydiaethalium plumbeum  
Professor Bruce Ing, is a world authority on Slime moulds, and now living in Scotland. As a Boy in the 1950's he lived in East London and although he he knew Hainault Forest, he did most of his Natural History studies in Epping Forest. I remember going there as a youngster, and looking at the small exhibit of Myxomycetes (Slime moulds) at the museum in Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge. They fascinated me then!

Bruce Ing is the author of the Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland (1999) Richmond Press.

I wrote to him and he kindly identified the slime mould (pictured left) as a plasmodium stage of the slime mould Dictydiaethalium plumbeum and reported that there are only a handful of records for Essex


The slime mould was growing on a fallen Beech branch on Hoghill 18th January  2016

Plasmodium stage of D. Dictydiaethalium on the edge of a broken beech branch 13th December 2019. Photo © Brian Ecott
Plasmodium stage of Dictydiaethalium plumbeum on fallen beech  23rd January 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott  Arrowed is the beginning of a later stage - a sporocarp with silvery white surround of hypothallus.  
Pictured here is the next stage, a well developed pseudocapillitium.  It is composed of columns of hexagonal sporocarps. Pictured right is a close up of a split which shows the columnar structure (centre).       Picture © Raymond Small.  1st January 2020.
Another plasmodium stage of Dictydiaethalium plumbeum on fallen beech on Dog Kennel Hill 8th Jan 2020. Pictured right on 11th Jan 2020 shows the pseudocapillitium which has developed in the middle. Photos © Brian Ecott.
Metatrichia floriformis  


On the 12th March 2018 Raymond Small photographed a mass of black "eggs" which looked to me like caviar on a fallen oak on Hog Hill. The bark and much of the trunk was rotten. On closer examination they appeared to be stalked. I had seen Slime moulds before and thought that this what they were and checked with Bruce Ing's book  Myxomycetes of Britain and Ireland. and identified it as a common species of rotting wood in woodlands. Fearing that it might spore we went back the following day to find that many of the sporocarps had split and produced spore-like masses.

Photos © Raymond Small and Brian Ecott. 13th March 2018.



Metatrichia floriformis sporocarps (black) on rotten beech log, Dog Kennel Hill. Photographed 29th October 2006.  The pink slime mould as yet unidentified.



A week in the life of a


Slime mould Comatricha nigra


Raymond Small discovered this creamy white slime mould (below) on another fallen beech on the 2nd January 2019. We decided to visit daily to see how it developed.


Raymond Small discovered this creamy white slime mould (above) on a fallen beech on the 2nd January 2019. We decided to visit daily to see how it developed.

DAY 1  Creamy white sporocarps with long thin stalks 9mm. tall

DAY 2  The sporocarps are turning pinkish.

DAY 3 The sporocarps are red-brown DAY 4 The sporocarps are shiny black, some at the top of picture are rough black.

DAY 6  The sporocarps are rough brown. DAY 7 The sporocarps are discharging millions of spores.

All photos © Brian Ecott

Trichia decipiens  

  Trichia decipiens on rotted wood. 30th October 2011 Photos © Iris Newbery & Peter Comber

This beautiful picture of Tricia decipiens was taken on 16th December 2019 Photo © Raymond Small. The sporocarps measure 3mm in height, diameter 0.8mm.
Hemitrichia clavata  

Hemitrichia clavata Sporocarps yellow to ochrous. On sodden rotting oak timber 18th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott


By the 9th December  the Hemitrichia clavata was a mass of golden spores  Scan © Brian Ecott

 Dog's vomit or Porridge slime mould Mucilago crustacea  
Slime mould Mucilago crustacea on grass just inside the Oak path gate. It is a complex organism which has its own Kingdom - the Slime moulds, They are not related to fungi. 23rd September 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.  

Slime mould Mucilago crustacea on grass and bramble. Photographed 14th October 2004. Cabin Hill. Photo © Brian Ecott.

        NB Everywhere on grassland in 2019

Mucilago crustacea slime mould on leaf litter, Dog Kennel Hill.

Photo: © Iris Newbery. 29th Oct. 2006.

Lycogala terrestre  Wolf's milk or Tooth paste slime mould  
Lycogala terrestre on old hornbeam stump. The picture was taken on 14th April 2006 when the slime mould was forming and was spongy. One week later 21st April 2006 the slime mould was bronze coloured, hard.  (Mature aethalia). It was beginning to crack and release the spores. Pictured near Sheepwater. © Brian Ecott  

Above and left are Slime moulds. They have been common this year (2017) on fallen rotten logs. They measure 15mm or less across. There are several species and they often appear after rain.

Pictured is Wolf's blood Lycogala epidendrum, pseudocapillitium   Notice the large one in the group on the right of the picture above. This has been squeezed and a pink fluid has  exuded (see left) and contains millions upon millions of tiny unicellular organisms. The large, now flattened cell shows a spiny surface.

During my time at school we were taught that there were two Kingdoms of living things - Plants and Animals. Now we know that many things do not fit these categories. Now there is the Fungi Kingdom and the Slime moulds belong to the Kingdom Myxomycetes. Other Kingdoms exist.

4th July 2017.  Photos © Brian Ecott

False puffball Reticularia lycoperdon  


Three examples of Reticularia lycoperdon on a Hawthorn stump 19th March 2003 on Foxburrows Farm. The largest (enlarged right) was 5 cm diameter, and shows a cauliflower appearance. Colour is normally white or pale yellow at this stage. Photos © Brian Ecott

Reticularia lycoperdon photographed on hornbeam log in Lambourne Great Wood. April 2003. Reticularia lycoperdon on old Elder stump. Photo: 6 May 2006 on Hog Hill. (Stage 2)  

Reticularia lycoperdon (Stage 3) May 2001. Reticularia lycoperdon (Stage 4) on old oak stump  13th August 2012


 Reticularia lycoperdon (Stage 4) on oak 18th May 2012

Reticularia lycoperdon (Stage 4)   The skin is peeling exposing the black spore mass. 27th March 2009.  

Slime mould Reticularia lycoperdon on rotting birch trunk, Dog Kennel Hill appeared after the heavy rain. 25th March 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott


Slime mould Reticularia lycoperdon. Judging by the number of letters going to NaturePlus at the Natural History Museum this must be appearing all over the place this spring. 7th April 2016. Photo © Colin Carron.  


Reticularia lycoperdon among moss on a fallen log. 19th April 2019. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Flowers of Tan  Fuligo septica septica  
Flowers of Tan Fuligo septica var. septica . Lambourne Wood. October 1991  

Flowers of Tan Fuligo septica var. septica  on birch. Photo © Daniel Britton..

Flowers of Tan Fuligo septica var. septica  on oak stump.  Photo © Daniel Britton.13th August 2012





Left: Flowers of Tan slime mould Fuligo septica var. septica on Lambourne Woods. 15th August 2017. Photo © Brian Ecott.

 Fuligo septica var. rufa
Slime mould Fuligo candida on cut hornbeam, Roe's Well 20th July 2006. Greatest length 17 cms. Slime mould Fuligo rufa  in Lambourne Wood October 2002
Fuligo septica var. flava
This was found on the woodchip piles by the Headland Path. The conservation team has arranged for some of the indigenous trees to be thinned out and chipped for future use. Raymond Small's sister Elaine Wiltshire spotted a strange sight on a woodpile which lead to an extensive Slime mould being discovered covering many of the wood piles Slimy plasmodium of Fuligo septica var. flava the colour of peanut butter pictured here. This creeping slime mould which can appear worldwide was named Caca de Luna or Moon's Poo by the South Americans as it suddenly appears overnight and creeps very slowly in amoeboid fashion and changing its form over a few days.

Picture © Brian Ecott 18th May 2018

 View of the aethalium of Fuligo septica var. flava. Note the porous, "bread-like" texture and the deep red liquefied areas Pictures © Brian Ecott 18th May 2018

Close-up view of the aethalium of Fuligo septica var. flava above. Note the porous, "bread-like" texture and the deep red liquefied areas

Mature aethalium of Fuligo septica var. flava with crusty, powdery surface resembling cement. Just below the surface are masses of spores resembling fine brown dust.

The crusty, powdery surface of this aethalium of Fuligo septica var. flava  has been gently scraped away to reveal a spore mass resembling fine brown dust  Photos © Brian Ecott 27th May 2018
Arcyria stipata

Arcyria stipata on rotten Beechwood. Photographed October 2007 identified by Dr Bruce Ing. It  is uncommon and another good record for Hainault Forest.

Slime mould Arcyria stipata on fallen beech behind the café 24th November 2018 Photo © Brian Ecott, and above right after sporing showing spore mass and broken capsules. 3rd December 2018  Photo © Raymond Small
Arcyria denudata

Slime mould Arcyria denudata on fallen beech. Scan © Brian Ecott  15th December 2018

Badhamia utricularis

Badhamia panicea

Slime mould Badhamia panicea sporocarps in beech bark on fallen beech 

27th November 2018  Photo © Brian Ecott  

A general view of the sporocarps of Badhamia panicea.  Picture shows brown spore masses.  27th November 2018. Photo ©  Raymond Small.  

Close up of the sporocarps of Badhamia panicea showing one releasing brown spores  27th November 2018 Photo © Raymond Small