WITH the cusp of autumn now upon us, a wonderful array of fungi is materialising like magic in the woods and fields of Clackmannanshire, bringing colour that matches the vibrancy brought by many of our wildflowers.

In Dollar Glen, I found two most unusual types recently – club fungus and coral fungus.

The former features delightful yellow spindles that point heavenwards from the woodland floor, while coral fungus is a domed structure of pale, antler-like branches.

It was challenging to identify the exact species of both – although the club type was most probably apricot or yellow club, and the other crested coral.

Also about in nearby woods were emerging sulphur tuft and fly agaric toadstools.

The fly agaric is closely associated with birch and pine trees in a symbiotic relationship where its sprawling underground threads (collectively known as mycelium) aid tree roots in absorbing minerals from the soil. In return, the fly agarics gain nutrients the tree has generated.

Last autumn in woodland, I stumbled upon a tumbled, decaying tree trunk that was home to an abundance of different fungi.

An elliptical, vibrant scar of wrinkled crust fungus coated one section in a creeping encrustation of grey and yellow, tinged of orange.

There were also olive oysterlings, which had the more typical toadstool appearance, with greenish caps and small stalks that curved out from the tree in tiers.

The more I looked, the more was revealed, including the miniscule orange specks of coral spot fungus and the marginally larger yellow discs of lemon disco. Dark, charcoal rubber-like blobs, coated part of the trunk, which were sticky to the touch.

This was black bulgar, a most unusual looking fungus, which is also known as bachelor's buttons or rubber buttons.

In North America, it is sometimes referred to as black jelly drops, or poor man's liquorice (although it is not edible).

This long-dead tree was an island of life and a provider of new opportunity, a nature reserve in miniature.

I savoured once more the wonderful names of these fungi – lemon disco and olive oysterling, black bulgar and coral spot – as poetic and uplifting as the vibrancy they brought to this little piece of woodland.