Slime Moulds (Myxomycetes)

Quite recently this intriguing group of organisms - the Mycetozoa (Myxomycetes) or slime moulds (molds) - have been classified as an entirely separate class of living thing. Gulielma Lister's classic work on the Essex Mycetozoa The Mycetozoa. Lister, G. 1918. (Essex Field Club Special Memoirs vi. Essex Field Club; Stratford, Essex.) listed 19 species specifically occurring in Wanstead Park. Below my listing are those species recorded from Wanstead Park extracted from the on-line reproductions on the Essex Field Club website.

Below is a list of Slime Moulds that I have found locally.  Those species where a photograph is available of a specimen found somewhere in the area may be viewed by clicking on the scientific name. Photographs of slime moulds are included preceeding the photographs of fungi. Lack of expertise means that the table below only represents of some of the species that are present.

Species Common Name Location (inc. date of first records)
Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa ?   City of London Cemetery, on Birch in the Birches, 17/12/2006
Enteridium lycoperdon   Wanstead Flats, on a tree trunk,  17/03/2014
Fuligo septica Dog's Vomit City of London Cemetery, 13/05/2008; Wanstead Park, 25/10/2009
Lycogala epidendrum Wolf's Milk Wanstead Park, Chalet Wood, 24/05/2003
Metatrichia floriformis   Wanstead Park, Chalet Wood, on underside of log, 06/03/2014
Mucilago crustacea   Wanstead Flats, on grass,  09/10/2010
Reticularia lycoperdon ?   Wanstead Flats near Aldersbrook changing rooms 05/02/2001
Stemonitis sp. ?   Wanstead Park, on log, 21/10/2000


In addition the following was reported by Rose Stephens

Species Common Name Location (inc. date of first records)
Leocarpus fragilis Eggshell Slime Mould Wanstead Flats 27/02/2016 (Rose Stephens)


Notes on Mycetozoa or slime moulds

Gulielma Lister's work on Mycetozoa - A Short History of the study of Mycetozoa in Britain, with a list of species recorded from Essex. (read as a Presidential Address at the thirty-sixth Annual Meeting on 31st March 1917) - listed nineteen species present in Wanstead Park. These are listed, with her comments, below.

Badhamia populina Lister - usually in autumn and winter, in Wanstead Park and in the surrounding district where poplars have fallen.

B. foliicola Lister - First identified as a distinct species in September 1896, when it occurred in vast abundance in Wanstead Park on turf under elm trees and on heaps of dead sycamore, elm, and bramble leaves, and also on twigs. It usually reappears every autumn.

Physarum pusillum (Berk. & Curt.) - A robust form, with both stalked and sessile sporangia, occurred on a stump in Wanstead Park in October 1904.

P. nutans Pers. - It has been abundant in recent years … on elm trunks in Wanstead Park.

P. compressum Alb. & Schwein – Not common in Epping Forest, found abundantly some Wanstead Park, on the bark of fallen poplars and elms.

P. sinuosum (Bull.) Weinm. - Frequent on twigs, and on dead elm and bramble leaves, in autumn and winter, especially in Wanstead Park.

Didymium complanatum Rost. - Found in Wanstead Park in summer on dead leaves, developing from lemon-yellow plasmodium.

Didymium nigripes Fries. - Very abundant on dead leaves, especially holly leaves, from autumn to winter. The var. eximium with orange brown stalks and columellae has been found in Wanstead Park.

Didymium anellus Morgan – This species occurs, often in great abundance, in autumn on heaps of dead sycamore leaves in Wanstead Park.

Stemonitis fusca Roth. - the var. confluens Lister, … has been found several times in the Forest and Wanstead Park.

Comatricha fimbriata G. Lister and Cran. - The first gathering of this elegant little species was made in November 1913, by Mr. Raymond Finlayson, who found the growth of nearly forty sporangia on a decorticated bramble stick in Wanstead Park.

C. pulchella (Bab.) Rost. - var. fusca Lister was described from specimens found in Wanstead Park in September 1896.

C. rubens Lister. - Not common ; it has been found on dead leaves, chiefly in winter, both in the Forest and in Wanstead Park.

C. typhoides (Bull.) Rost. - very frequent on decayed wood throughout the summer and autumn ; var microspora Lister was abundant in Wanstead Park on dead bramble leaves in the autumn of 1896-7, but has not been found there since.

Brefeldia maxima (Fries) Rost. - not common ; between the years 1887 and 1896 this species continued to appear on certain stumps in Wanstead Park in autumn and winter. (postscript : A large growth has again appeared in Wanstead Park in the summer of 1917)

Cribraria argillacea Pers. - Not common ; it appeared in July 1888 and 1894 on a Spanish chestnut stump in Wanstead Park.

Dictydium cancellatum (Batsch) Macbr. - Not common ; occurring in abundance on a stump in Wanstead Park for two years in succession. Var. fuscum Lister was also found in Wanstead Park on the same stump as the typical purplish-red form. This species usually appears in summer and early autumn.

Tibifera ferruginosa Gmel. - Occurring in summer and autumn on dead wood. Rare in this district ; I know of one gathering only, which was made by Mr. T. Perch, in Wanstead Park, in October, 1904.

Liceopsis lobata (Lister) Torrend. - This species was described from specimens found within a big hollow stump of Spanish chestnut in Wanstead Park in July 1887-8.