Blue Velvet?

No, not the 1950s hit song by Tony Bennett or Frank Sinatra and covered by many other singers, and certainly not the 1986 highly controversial David Lynch film. But something that we found in our woodland in North Devon!

Rob, our farm manager, was shocked to see what looked like bright blue paint splashed across some dead branches in one of our spinneys. Have we got a trespassing paint-baller? Or someone carelessly dropping a can of cobalt blue paint? The truth was even stranger, and further evidence of the fact that nature is always springing surprises on us.

Closer examination revealed that the logs in question were splattered with “Cobalt Crust” fungus or “Velvet Blue Spread”. This relatively rare fungus, with the Latin name “Terana Caerulea”, is usually found in warmer climates although it has been spotted as far north as the Ayrshire coast in Scotland.

We had never seen this beautiful fungus previously, maybe evidence of the impact of global warming and an increased prevalence of warmer climate species?

It does prove how interesting a walk through the countryside can be, what amazing marvels of the natural world can be spotted if one is observant, and how beautiful our native flowers, plants and fungi can be. The exotic is on our doorstep!

(Only pick or touch mushrooms and fungi that you know very well: some highly poisonous fungi closely resemble edible species. Beware! This particular fungus is not to be eaten.  Our rule…if you’re not sure just don’t touch it!)