Helen O’Keefe photographed this very striking club fungus on the hill behind the crofts at Elphin (NC2110) on 8th October 2018. It had a branched fruiting body of an unusual shade of pinkish-violet. Bruce Ing was able to confirm her suspicions that it might be the Violet Coral Clavaria zollingeri, a species he says is ‘rare up here and never common’.
Although the books have it inhabiting ‘damp woodland areas’ or ‘impoverished acidic sites’, Helen found it in exposed limestone grassland, which is interesting. The only other known record from Assynt is of a clump found by Andy Summers beside the path up the north side of Suilven (NC1518), on 29thAugust 2017 (Rare fungus found on Suilven).
Fungi often cannot be precisely named from photographs, since it may be necessary to examine their spores under a microscope or look at other characters that are only discernible in a specimen. This is one of the happy exceptions, so it is worthwhile taking photos, and sending them to the Field Club, if the subjects look really distinctive.
Ian M. Evans