Yesterday's birthday celebrations went very well, so this morning I treated myself to a wander round Old Sulehay NR, to make the most of the autumn sunshine. Despite the recent rain, there were still surprisingly few fungi showing.
This teeny little fungus, whose cap was less than a centimetre in width, was one of my favourites. It's most likely to be Collared Parachute, also known as Horsehair Fungus on account of the long, very narrow but wiry stipe. Its preferred habitat is dead deciduous hardwood roots and fallen trunks, branches and twigs – in hedgerows as well as in woodlands and it's quite common, though easily overlooked.
The genus name Marasmius comes from the Greek word marasmos, meaning 'drying out'. Elias Magnus Fries, who separated the Marasmius genus from the similar white-spored Collybia fungi, used as a key differentiating factor the ability of Marasmius mushrooms to recover if rehydrated after drying out. Fries called this drought survival characteristic 'marescence'. The reason for the specific epithet rotula becomes obvious when you turn over a cap and see that the inner collar, the gills and the outer rim of the cap look so much like the hub, spokes and rim of a wheel: ‘rot’ (as in rotula) is a reference to a wheel, as it is also in the verb ‘rotate’.