This spectacular fungus emerged at the base of an oak tree on Fawn Hill and one of my reference books tells me this fungi is responsible “for making old oaks hollow.” Its color was absolutely stunning and it is quite large, about 6 inches across. ❧
Lichen and mushrooms like to hang out together but they are different. Since I am without my reference books I can’t say definitively what all of those lovely colored beings are. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungus while lichens are composite beings that have fungi and a photosynthetic partner growing together in a symbiotic relation. (Thank you Wikipedia.) The pale green and the red & white growth are definitely lichen. But the tan colored growth has me stumped. There are mushrooms that are similar to this so …. ? This bark is on an old oak tree in the oak grove that I featured a couple of posts back (Oak Cathedral). ❧
Frequent visitors will know that I’ve had this “thing” about mushroom pictures this year. The North Carolina property had plenty of varieties so it wasn’t hard to get a good ‘shroom portfolio. Tango, as you can see, does his part. I could swear he is saying, “Hey mom! I found some mushrooms.” There were quite a few different kinds of mushrooms at Myakka Park yesterday. The Park has cleared out many of the feral pigs so the mushrooms at least have a chance. A couple of years ago you couldn’t find a mushroom in the Park. Will post a couple of others in the next day or so. ❧
Mushrooms are generally thought of as delicate and fleshy, two traits that do not seem to suggest a wintery existence. But these two little fellows have poked their heads up through the stones near the koi pond in my neighbor’s yard. The taller of the two is about the same length as my house key, or about two inches. We have had cold weather here, with temperatures in the teens for consecutive nights. But these troopers seem to relish it. Similarly the lichen and many of the mosses have pushed forth with tremendous growth during these early weeks of winter.
Sorry I can’t provide an identification at this time. Perhaps a reader can contribute that information. ❧
The Stalked Hairy Fairy Cup, according to Audubon’s Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, is “Often in large groups, on dead twigs, stems, beech burs, and birch catkins.” That explains the large number of these specimens that were populating the various pieces from our recent tree removal on Fawn Hill. There were plenty of dead or dying stems and twigs for this fungus to enjoy. At approximately 1/8 of an inch (3mm) in length is is very easy to overlook this unique mushroom. The actual cup is only 1/32 of an inch (1mm) wide. When you get down close to it you see that is is covered with long, white hairs. Just another wonder from the mushroom world. ❧
On Friday we had some tree removal work done at Fawn Hill. There were two really bad problems–an 80 foot Poplar that was rotted at the base and hollow for about six feet up, and some limbs on a Black Oak that had died and were hanging precipitously over the house. One piece of the Oak had already broken lose and, like a spear, pierced the roof.
The crew was here early and it was a good thing because by midday the rains had come in and the crew headed out, leaving massive quantities of lumber staged in my backyard and driveway, awaiting the chipper that may arrive on Monday, weather permitting.
Saturday dawned mild and sunny. When I looked at the pile of tree debris in my backyard I thought of one thing–opportunity! It’s not often that the opportunity to study macro-environments at 80 feet up falls into your lap. Normally you need to strap on a lot of climbing equipment and be strong enough to claw your way up a tree with your heels. I have neither the equipment, strength or, for that matter, the interest to even try. Another opportunity to accomplish this goal is to visit a few places, like Myakka River State Park, where there is a tree canopy walk and you can leisurely study the flora aloft. In my case, on Saturday, I simply needed to walk out my front door.
I spent some time studying the downed pieces. There were many things of interest. Lots of lichen…or moss…not sure which. But the limbs from the Black Oak gave me something I could identify, another addition to the growing list of mushrooms I have become acquainted with here in North Carolina. In this case it is the Crowded Parchment (Stereum complicatum). They are the orange fungi you see on the branches at the bottom of this first picture.
But here is a much better and closer picture.
I had studied the dead limbs of the Black Oak with some interest before the arborists arrived but I can’t recall seeing the fungi. No doubt it was on the sunny side of the branch which was some 60 or more feet in the air. Having photographed and identified it I then learned, via the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, that the habitat for this fungi is “On dead deciduous twigs and stumps, especially oak.” Seems the arborist made a good cut. ❧
Frequent followers will have figured out by now that this summer, for me, has been a photographic love affair with mushrooms. That’s my buddy, Tango, sitting between two spectacular blooms of mushrooms in the patch of land that Boni & Gail call “the meadow,” at the top of Fawn Hill. This picture was just three weeks ago. On the right is an, as yet, unidentified stand. They may be Velvet Foot but I’m not sure. On the left is our spectacular friend, Jack O’Lantern. Tango’s presence gives a good sense of scale. These are not small ‘shrooms.
Here they are, a bit closer up.
Three weeks may not seem like much time but, believe me, it is a long time ago. There have been many changes. The most dramatic and heart-wrenching were detailed in my previous post, Image #143. My friend Gail is slipping, bit-by-bit, into that abyss from which there is no return…at least none that we can know. She has talked of the bright light at the foot of her bed. A Reiki master, who came and gave Gail great comfort on Sunday, spoke of the “bright blue light” that is next to Gail. Change is coming…
On a larger scale, the air is cooler now, frosts are frequent and the leaves have fallen with a thud that announces “CHANGE!” Sigh …. it is inescapable. Throughout the summer months we trick ourselves somehow, we believe the days, long and lingering, will go on forever. But change is here and in these northern climes it is ever so much more present. Perhaps that is why the elderly love Florida so much. Change is harder to see and there is a sense that change is being held at bay. As humans we generally hate change and yet, ironically, it is the only thing of which we can be absolutely sure.
And speaking of change, frequent followers will note some changes on this website. I have finally figured out how to create galleries for my pictures. You can find them in the right-hand column. So far I have posted two — one with birds and the other with, what else, mushrooms. I hope you enjoy this chance to view just the pictures but, of course, I also hope you will stop to read the words. After all, words matter. ❧
Like Halloween caviar, the Carnival Candy Slime fungi brightens the base of a rotting tree in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. Carnival Candy Slime!!! Where do these mushroom specialists come up with these names?? Its Latin name is Arcyria denudata. I may not have it correctly identified and encourage any slime lovers out there to set me straight if I have the name wrong. A truly spectacular growth, whatever its name might be. ☙
According to the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, “The Stalked Hairy Fairy Cup is one of a number of very small, beautiful cup fungi that are covered with hairs.” Enough said? This dainty life form lives on a tree at Wayah Bald, NC — 5,000 feet up, very exposed to extremes and very beautiful. ☙