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Last Saturday we had yet another great day out. This year the Annual Mushroom was held in Howth and we were able to find some different species compared to other years as a result.

Thanks to Paul Dowding for his expertise and boundless enthusiasm (there is no other description for it) and to all those hardy souls who made the trip over to the North side of Dublin. It wasn’t that bad now was it? Nice food and a few pints afterwards helped I am sure.

Paul Dowding shares his extensive experience with some of the society members.

Below are  some of the nearly 30 species of fungi we found on the day  in the woodland. Remember the saying “There are old mycologists and there are bold mycologists but there are no old bold mycologists”. Never eat a fungus unless you can positively identify it and always keep a specimen to bring to hospital with you if you decide to ignore the advice 🙂

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Paul Dowding shares his skills with eager society members.

Paul Dowding shares his skills with eager society members.

Another successful hunt this year although as usual it is difficult to organise a date in advance and hope the abundance of different fungi corresponds with the day. This year we may have been a little late for the main flush as the season was early. However certain fungi were in low numbers and have probably not reached their peak yet so it is worth watching out until the first frosts appear.

We managed to find some edible fungi including some very tasty Boletus edulis (Penny Buns), Russula densifolia (I think!) which were promptly fried up and shared around.

Russula sp.

Beautiful yellow capped Russula

There were many other species  identified including Hypholoma sublateritium pictured below

Hypholoma sublateritium

Hypholoma sublateritium growing at the base of Tsuga. Beautiful but nicely described in the books as "suspect"!

Then there were all the tiny fungi, beautiful in their own rights. This Galerina sp. is only 1cm across but deadly.

Galerina sp.

Galerina sp.

To top it all off we found a slime mold. Are these weird or not? They are amoeba like lifeforms which feed on bacteria, congregate and change shape according to what they find and need to do. Colonies of single-celled animals which group together to form super cells are not something from a sci-fi movie but are found worldwide. Read more about them here

This one seemed to be reaching towards me as I took the photo 🙂

Slime mold

Strange alien creatures.............just another amazing example of the diversity of life on Earth.

Time to go.

A fun day yet again and thanks to Paul Dowding for his advice and expertise and all those who took part, especially the new members of the society who came along and made new friends.

Amanita muscaria, very pretty but one of the poisonous ones!

This year’s annual Mushroom Hunt is taking place on Sat.8th October from 12pm at Massey Woods, Co.Dublin as usual. We will meet up in the car park of the Hell Fire Club and head off into the woods for some fine fungal foraging. Remember, we will have experts on hand to help you identify what is edible and what is not.

Please let us know if you are coming and if you are using the bus let us know so we do not leave you behind.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

The annual TCD Botanical Society pub quiz was held on the 18th of November. As our luck would have it, it was at the same time as the Ireland qualifying game with France. This however didn’t dampen the spirits of the quizgoers, who turned up in full force on the night. We kicked off (geddit) at 8pm, with a total of eight teams (correct me if I’m wrong) participating with more turning up and joining the teams throughout the night.

The questions ranged from General Science to some light Botanically related ones to an image round of celebrities who have some form of tree/plant in their name. Many thanks to Brian for sorting out the questions. There were six rounds of ten questions each, with the final round consisting of a cryptic word game of popplar (!) trees.

The first prize of €100 Stena Line vouchers, a bottle wine and chocolate was awarded to team Stephen Hawking Karaoke Machine, who finished the quiz with 55 out of a possible 60. This score had nothing to do with the fact that they had Prof. Mike Williams and Prof. Fraser Mitchell in the team!

The second prize was awarded to team France who scored 53 out of 60. They however didn’t have any eminent professors in their team so double kudos to them! They took home a bottle of wine and some chocolates. Many thanks to all the competing teams and the everyone who helped out on the night! Couldn’t have done it without you guys. Pics from the night follow.

The third Botanical Society Committee meeting was held on the 29th of September at the fourth year study room. Thanks to Brian, Bridget, Connor and Dara for attending. The following points were discussed:

  • Upcoming Member’s Reception on the 7th of October
  • Mushroom Hunt on the 17th of October
  • Possible speaker on the 4th or the 5th of November
  • Pub Quiz at Cassidy’s on the 18th of November
  • Possible away trip sometime next year to the Kew Gardens or the Eden Project
  • Member Hoodies

    red wineLogistical details for the member’s reception at the Eliz Room was discussed at length. The place is booked from 5:00pm so that we can get there early and setup the place. The reception will kick off at 6:00pm and refreshments will be provided. Our chairperson will give a small introductory talk to the new members outlining the upcoming events, following which copious consumption of beverages shall begin. Jury is still out on whether we should be all posh and get bottles (!) or do and Aldi/Lidl and go with cartons. Hmm, choices, choices.

    mario_mushroomThe second event of  October is planned to be the Mushroom hunt at the Massey Woods. It’s gonna be run by Maria Cullen who ran it last year in conjunction with Howard Fox. I missed it last year, so I’m definitely going this year. It’s a guaranteed fun and educational event, as Maria is well trained in picking out mushrooms without any problems. Who knows, you might end up stranded in some forest some day and have no choice but to live on mushrooms! It’s planned for the Saturday the 17th of October and there’s talk of collecting the edible mushrooms and going to the nearby Hellfire Club and cooking them with lunch. Yum!

    Twain_on_the_lecture_circuitThe first event of November is looking to be a talk of some sort. Last year they had some great lectures like the one by the Ugandan Conservationist Dr. Dominic Byarugaba and this year will be no difference. We are still deciding, so if you have ideas, comment and let me know!

    Cassidy’s on Westmoreland St. is gonna be booked for the Pub Quiz on the 18th. This should be a barrel of fun with some great offers for drinks (pitcher of Bavaria for a tenner so I hear!). We’re still ironing out the logistics of this and looking for volunteers to help out selling tickets and to help out on the night as well.

    eden-projectWe briefly touched on a possible away trip next year to either the Kew Gardens or the Eden Project around February or so. Both look fantastic, and if we had the time and the resources we’d definitely do both, but alas, our coffers aren’t endless. More of that later, so stay tuned!

    We’ll be taking names of people who are interested in getting Society Hoodies during the reception. The hoody is gonna be Navy in colour with the Trinity Crest in front and the Society Logo at the Back. It’ll cost about 20/22 euro, and depending on numbers we can get the price down even further.

    Wow, that was a wall of text. I’ll leave you for now the digest all this information! The confirmed events outlined above are up on the Society Calender, so click on the Events banner to the left to go to the Calender page (choose the agenda tab for a quick overview).

    TCD Botanical Society events got off to a good start with the Earth Sciences pub crawl which was held on Wed 23rd of September. Apparently, it was a smashing success. Unfortunately, your humble author was asleep when the said pub crawl was underway due to an evening of revelry the night before. But accounts from the people who attended are nothing but positive.

    The pub crawl was run in conjunction with the other earth science societies, namely Environmental Society, ZooSoc and Joly Society and the turnout was overwhelming with more than 40 people turning up in front of the Museum Building revving to go. Cathal Reilly (JolySoc Treasurer) was the fearless leader for the night, leading the group from one pub to another, starting off at O’Donoghues and finally ending up in the Mezz, where a reggae band entertained the group for the rest of the night. Needless to say there were a few hungover faces at the respective Fresher’s stand the next day. This was a good start for the society and if the numbers at the Pub Crawl is anything to go by, this should be a good year for all the Earth Science societies involved.

    I’ll try to get pictures posted in the Events section when I get hold of some.

    Now that Fresher’s Week is behind us, we can sit back a bit and contemplate on how amazing it was. Thanks to everyone who signed up to the 2009/2010 session of the TCD Botanical Society, which is gonna be the most exciting year yet. We were honestly overwhelmed by the signups throughout the week and especially with the surge of signups on Friday. I guess the Pub Crawl inspired a lot of people. Big thanks to all the members who helped out with the stands throughout the week. Was a smashing success and couldn’t have done it without you guys. Till next time.

    Brian and Danny manning the Fresher's stand

    Brian and Danny manning the Fresher's stand