Posts Tagged ‘Brown Jelly Fungus’

Here are a few more of those odd or unusual things that I see which don’t seem to fit in other posts.

British Soldier Lichens

British soldier lichens (Cladonia cristatella) are so small that I often can’t see them clearly when I try to get their photograph. I sometimes have to just set the camera down on the moss next to them, press the shutter release, and hope for the best. What you see is what the camera gave me this time. There is a very similar lichen called lipstick powder horn, but it doesn’t branch near its tips like this lichen does. Both kinds can be found on well-rotted fallen logs and stumps.

Bootstrap or Honey Fungus aka Armillaria mellea_gallica

Bootstrap fungus is caused by honey mushrooms (Armillaria), which send out long root like structures called rhizomorphs between the wood of a tree and its bark. When fresh these rhizomorphs are cream colored but darken to brown or black as they age. I found the above example on a fallen tree that had lost its bark. The fungus is also called armillaria root rot. It kills many species of hardwood trees.

Honey Mushrooms

These are the honey mushrooms (Armillaria) that cause the bootstrap fungus shown in the previous photo. These were growing on a standing, living tree, but it probably won’t be living or standing long. Note: Though they have the same growth habit and color, these are not honey mushrooms.

Canada Mayflower Fruit

Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) berries are ripe and their leaves have turned yellow. This plant is sometimes called two leaved Solomon’s seal or false lily of the valley. The “May” part of the name refers to its flowering time. Native Americans used the plant for headache and sore throats.

Brown Jelly Fungus

Brown jelly fungi (Exidia recisa) have started to appear on downed trees and limbs. This fungus can absorb water until it eventually weighs over 60 times its dry weight. When dry it becomes a tiny black speck, hardly noticeable on tree bark.

Dewy Web 2

It took all summer but I finally saw a dew covered spider’s web.

Large Fishing Spider aka Dolomedes tenebrosus on Goldenrod

I also saw a gargantuan spider on another web, built on a goldenrod that was leaning out over the river. The people at bgguide.net tell me this is a fishing spider but unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of its abdomen so they couldn’t tell me its scientific name. These spiders get their common name from the way that they occasionally catch fish. This one must have been at least 4 inches from leg tip to leg tip.

Wooly Bear

 According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the wider the brown stripe in the middle of the wooly bear caterpillar is, the milder the winter will be. “Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, collected these caterpillars and counted the number of brown segments on each. Average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a third of the woolly bear’s body. As those relatively high numbers suggested, the corresponding winters were milder than average.” In case you’re wondering, the one in the photo has about 5 1/2 brown segments.

Garter Snake

One day a small garter snake was pretending to be a stick. If it wasn’t for the stone I might have stepped on him.

Hawthorn Fruit

My color finding software sees hot pink, crimson, brick red, Indian red, and pale violet red in these hawthorn (Crataegus) fruits (berries). The fruit is high in pectin, so they are often added to other fruits when making jelly. Nobody seems to know how many species of hawthorn there are, but some say that it could be a thousand or more. Native Americans used the often tasteless fruit in ointments and other medicines.


Fall always starts at the forest floor and ferns show some of the most colorful signs that it has arrived.

Turkey Tails

Last fall and winter I didn’t see many turkey tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) but this year there seems to be plenty of them. Like most mushrooms most of this fungus lies below the bark of the trees it grows on. I wonder if the width of the rings or “zones” reveals what the weather has done like the rings on trees do. Last year the few turkey tails that I saw had quite wide zones and, as the photo shows, this year they are very narrow.

Maple Leaf Viburnum

Maple leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) leaves seem to start out colored just about any color you can name in the fall, but after their red / yellow / orange/ purple phases all of the leaves eventually become a very pale, ghostly pink, making this shrub’s fall color among the most beautiful in the forest, in my opinion.

Unknown Wading Bird 2-2

I saw two of these wading birds probing the shore of a local pond. They weren’t very big-maybe a little bigger than a robin. I’ve been trying to identify them since I took their photos but haven’t had much luck. I think they must be some kind of sandpiper, but I can’t find one with spots on its back. If anyone reading this recognizes it is I / we would love to hear from you.

Update: This bird has been identified by two readers as a Solitary Sandpiper. Here is a link with a photo of that bird: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Solitary_Sandpiper/id

Unknown Wading Bird

Here is a side shot of the maybe sandpiper. They seemed to be finding plenty to eat in the pond shallows.

There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties. ~ John Muir

Thanks for coming by.

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Last weekend I hiked an old class 6 road for several miles. Here in New Hampshire a class 6 designation means that the road isn’t maintained by either the state or the town and it could be rough going. Class 6 roads are also subject to gates and bars. This one might have been an old logging road or a road between towns long ago.

A lot of the hike was uphill.

There was a nice stream running alongside the road that looked like a good place to fish for brook trout. I wish I could show this spot to my father-he used to love fishing in places like this.

A deer had walked the road not too long before I did. This area is really out in the middle of nowhere so I’m sure many  different animals live here.

Since it was hunting season I wore a fluorescent yellow hat so people with guns could see me.

I saw some beaver ponds than I plan to re-visit next spring-several areas looked like prime orchid habitat. This beaver dam was about as high as I am tall and was holding back a very large amount of water. If it had let go while I was taking this picture I probably wouldn’t be writing this post. The largest beaver dam ever found is in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park and spans about 2,800 feet. It has taken several generations of beavers since 1970 to build and it can be seen from space. Imagine how much water it is holding!

I saw some nice beard lichen, as well as many other types. I think this is bristly beard (Usnea hirta.) According to my lichen book, studies have shown the usnic acid found in these lichens has antibiotic properties and, in some cases, is more effective than penicillin in treating burns and wounds.

I also saw some pinkish brown jelly fungus. Some types of this fungus are called wood ears because they resemble an ear. They can fruit throughout winter and it is said that they are edible but have little to no flavor. Why, I wonder, would someone bother to eat something that had no flavor? Especially something that might make them sick.

I saw witch’s butter, which is a yellow to pink to reddish orange or orange jelly fungus, growing on a plank that was part of an old wooden bridge that crossed the stream. I think this one might be an apricot jelly (Tremiscus helvelloides.)

Lemon drops (Bisporella citrina) are another type of fungus. These were so bright against this dark stump that it looked as if there was a spotlight on them. These start life as either flat disks like those in the photo or round orbs. As they age they turn more cup shaped. They are usually very small but grow in large groups.

These bracket fungi were brick red and a bit shriveled. I can’t seem to find them in any of my mushroom books.

I saw a tree that was trying to eat its neighbor.

Another tree had the biggest burl I’ve ever seen on it. This must have been at least 2 feet from top to bottom.  A wood turner could make quite a bowl from this one.  Burl grain is dense, deformed, and very hard, which is why it makes such a good material for bowls. Burl wood was a favorite of Native Americans, who used it for bowls, cups, and other objects.

I saw many evergreen ferns including intermediate wood fern (Dryopteris intermedia,) which I think this is. These ferns look much more fragile than evergreen Christmas ferns.

I think my favorite part of this hike was sitting beside still pools like this one, hearing nothing but beech leaves rattling in the wind. The serenity made the 6 hour walk even more worthwhile.

To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty . . . it beholds every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks for stopping by. Remember-there are hunters in the forest.

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The first few light frosts won’t kill the mycelium that mushrooms fruit from, but they will go dormant when the weather is below freezing both night and day.  For now there are still plenty of them in the woods. Here are a few that I’ve seen recently.

These white mushrooms with black stems were tiny and very hard to get a picture of-their stems didn’t seem much thicker than a human hair and the caps were less than the diameter of a pencil eraser. I’m fairly sure these are pinwheel mushrooms (Marasmius capillaris) because this mushroom fruits only on oak leaves and that’s exactly what those pictured were doing. When there is no rain these mushrooms shrivel up to the size of common pins and wait for the rain, after which they come back as they are seen in the photo.

This cluster of what I think are Anise seed Cockleshell  mushrooms (Lentinellus cochleatus ) was growing at the base of a stump. The common name comes from the way some of these mushrooms smell like anise. That isn’t a good way to identify them though because my mushroom guide says that many of them are odorless.  I like the darker edges. This brown “Witch’s butter” jelly fungus isn’t much to look at but it’s the first one I’ve seen this year. Yellow and orange ones are everywhere, but brown and black are hard to find. Fan shaped jelly fungus (Dacryopinax spathularia) is “widespread but not common,” according to my mushroom book. I’ve seen several of these this summer. They are small, orange or orange yellow, and fan shaped.  I see them growing out of cracks in cut branches or which have had the bark removed, often in shaded brush piles. When dry they shrivel and shrink, but when it rains they plump right back up again. 

I found quite a few of these yellow orange spindle coral mushrooms growing together over quite a large area. My mushroom guide tells me it is Ramariopsis laeticolor. One website calls it the “handsome club,” which it is.

I don’t see many jelly fungi with stalks like these have. Apparently most other people don’t either because I can’t find any that resemble them in three different mushroom guides or online.

These yellow cup like fungi were so small that I had to crop the photo even though it was taken in macro mode. If you take a yellow crayon and make dots on a piece of paper you’ll have a good idea what these actually looked like to the naked eye. One website calls these “Yellow fairy cups” (Bisporella citrina) and says they grow in dense clusters, which these were doing. Each cup starts out as a spherical yellow globule before opening to the cup shape seen in the photo.

Since this coral fungus has sprouted on a log and not from the ground I think it might be Crown coral (Clavicorona pyxidata.) Crown coral branches at right angles like a candelabra and each branch ends in a tiny little crown, just like what is seen here.

 This coral fungus is tan, yellow, orange, maroon, olive green, and a few other colors as well, but since it is mostly yellowish tan I believe it is Ramaria abietina. My mushroom guide says this species should be identified microscopically, so my identification should be taken with a grain of salt.  Ramaria abietina has no common name that I can find. 

This is another of the coral fungi that I believe is Clavaria ornatipes. This fungus is described as spatula or club shaped and greyish to pinkish gray. It grew directly out of the ground. This is one of the tooth fungi, called Hericium americanum. One website also calls it bears head fungi, but I don’t know how accurate that name is. My mushroom guide says this many branched fungus always grows on the side of a log or stump and that’s exactly where I found this one. It reminds me of icicles hanging from the eaves.

I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Thanks for stopping by.


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In my last post I promised you colors without flowers. There are rare moments in the forest when I stumble upon something so beautiful that it isn’t hard to imagine all of creation crying with joy at its sight. I think that mushrooms especially fit that description because I find many of them every bit as beautiful as flowers. I hope that you might feel the same way after seeing some of these recent finds.I’ve seen little orange mushrooms all over the place and they all seem to differ slightly is size, shape and color intensity. I never knew there were so many different orange mushrooms! I think these might be one of the wax cap mushrooms; possibly one of the hygrocybes. This type of mushroom is considered one of the most colorful and also one of the most aesthetically pleasing, according to mushroom identification books. I have to agree.This red headed mushroom was quite small. I think it might be a mushroom called Emetic Russula (Russula emetica.) There aren’t many mushrooms with red caps and white stems so the chances of mistaken identification are somewhat lessened compared to other colors. You don’t want to eat this one by mistake-“emetic” is a clue that it will make you very sick. This mushroom is said to become sticky after a rain. This is the only one of these that I’ve seen this season. I’m seeing a lot a bracket or shelf fungi all of the sudden, but I see very few with purple in them like these. I saw some bracket fungi that had purple slime mold growing on them a while ago, but I think these in the photo were just plain old turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) with purple edges. The purple is a nice touch.

This is probably the most easily recognized mushroom and the one that most frequently pops into people’s minds when they think of mushrooms. I’ve seen many yellow ones but this is the first red fly agaric (Amaita muscaria) that I’ve seen. I was surprised at such a deep, deep red that almost looked maroon to me. It is quite a different red than the scarlet hood mushroom above. This mushroom is toxic.

Update: Fellow New Hampshire blogger jomegat tells me that this mushroom is brown, which reminds me that colorblindness can, at times, be tiring. The only brown amanita that makes any sense is amanita ceciliae. Another called royal amanita looks exactly like this picture but is said to only grow as far south as Alaska. In any case, any mushroom that looks like this one is most likely toxic and better left alone.

 This is a very beautiful mushroom in my opinion, but it is hard to identify. I think it is the gray tooth (Phellodon melaleucus.) Toothed mushrooms have thousands of tiny spines on the underside of the cap that look like teeth. I saw several of these one day and poked one of them to find that it had very firm flesh. I have since learned that these mushrooms are used in dye making. The mushroom pictured could also be the very closely related Blue-black tooth (Phellodon atratus.)

I’m surprised that I don’t see more yellow mushrooms; I might see only one yellow for every thirty I see that are other colors. They aren’t common and don’t seem to grow in large groups here. This one grew all alone behind a boulder. I think it might be one called the butter wax cap (Hygrocybe ceracea.) Whatever its name, I think it’s a beauty.

These little purple mushrooms are scattered throughout the woods and are probably the most numerous colored mushrooms after the orange ones. I’ve noticed that this mushroom and virtually all of the orange ones are left untouched while white and other colors seem to be eaten almost as soon as they pop up. Eaten by what I don’t know, but I assume it’s an animal of some kind. These little purple ones get lighter purple as they age and my mushroom books tell me that they are probably the Viscid Violet Cort (Cortinarius iodes.) These mushrooms have brown spores and usually fruit near hardwoods. The ones that I’ve seen have all been growing in deep, dark shade and their caps always look wet. This fallen tree was big-too big to step over-and was covered with these large, saucer sized white mushrooms that I believe are oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus.) This tree was a hardwood, which points to the oyster mushroom. If it had been a softwood they most likely would have been another mushroom called angel’s wings (Phyllotus porrigens,) which look very similar to those pictured. This was hands down the largest mushroom I’ve ever seen, so I put a quarter on it to give you an idea of the scale. This giant was growing on a log buried in the soil and was probably close to a foot and a half across. I can’t imagine what it must have weighed. I think it is a chicken of the woods (Laetiporus Cincinnatus.)

Another shot of the chicken of the woods. These looked more like gigantic turkey tails than anything to do with chickens, but it is said they taste like chicken. I wonder what hen of the woods tastes like? These ones stood about knee high and I had to gather my wits about me and tell myself that I really was seeing such big mushrooms. After seeing microscopic slime molds and tiny mushrooms for a couple of days, these were quite a surprise! I’m seeing a lot of coral mushrooms now too. I think this one might be crown coral (Clavicorona pyxidata) but I can’t be sure because of the color. It looks pink to me but it could be white, gray, or tan. I’ll let any new readers in on a secret: I’m color blind, and when it comes to certain colors like blue and purple or orange/yellow/red sometimes I can’t tell what I’m looking at.  Light pinks are another shade I have trouble with, but if these are indeed pink than they could be the crown coral mushroom, pink tipped coral, or clustered coral.  There is a jelly fungus called false coral fungus but it is said to be tough, dry, and non-gelatinous. This one felt soft and pliable like a mushroom. It was about as big around as a coffee cup. Another coral mushroom is clustered coral (Ramaria botrytis,) identified by its habit of bruising brown and having pink or brown tips. It is short, dense and pink to purplish. It is also very brittle and breaks easily. Many people say this mushroom looks like cauliflower when it is young. Older plants have longer branches like those shown here.

This picture was taken in a hurry and I’m surprised that it isn’t more out of focus. When I knelt on the ground to take the picture I landed on a yellow jacket’s nest and they had stung me 3 times before I could even stand up. Luckily, they didn’t chase me as I ran through the woods slapping at my leg. And luckily, nobody saw me running through the woods slapping my leg. At least, I don’t think so. I didn’t get any shots of the yellow jackets. This mushroom looked far pinker in the woods than it does here. It looks slightly brownish in the photo but still has the translucence that made me stop and wonder about it. Unfortunately it’s another one that is tough to identify, but I think it might be a lilac bonnet (Mycena pura.) The lilac bonnet is said to have a strong, radish like odor but I didn’t smell it. Its color is also said to be extremely variable and it usually has splits in its cap.This one I don’t have trouble with as far as color goes because I can see that it’s brown and black. What I am having trouble with is knowing exactly what it is. I’m not sure if it is a brown jelly fungus or if it is some type of mushroom that is past its prime. Brown jelly fungi usually look ear or brain-like instead of like the above example, but they turn black as they dry out. In any event this post is supposed to be more about color than anything else and brown is well represented in jelly fungi, bracket fungi, and mushrooms.These could be brown and white but I see maroon and white with a velvety texture. These were very difficult to even begin to get a fix on as far as identification goes, but after much searching I think they might be the Earth Fan (Thelephora terrestris.) I think this is one of the prettiest mushrooms I’ve seen, but I’ve also seen pictures of an indigo blue one (Thelephora indigo) that is so beautiful I can’t even begin to describe it.Finding these club or flat topped coral mushrooms (Clavariadelphus truncatus) is always a pleasant surprise. They aren’t very big but their colors are usually quite bright and that makes them easy to see. My mushroom book says that these are widespread but uncommon. Other than that, finding reliable information on these mushrooms is difficult. The color of these club coral mushrooms is much tamer and more softly pastel than that of the ones we just saw. I read that their color starts to fade as they age, so maybe these were older versions of those in the previous photo. White toothed jelly fungi (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum) look like the heads of cobras poking up out of a log. The undersides of these fungi have thousands of tiny teeth and their color can range from the ghostly translucent white shown here to dark brown. The cap is kind of tongue shaped and feels like jello. I can’t think of another mushroom that looks quite like these but there are white “brain” and witch’s butter fungi.At the start of this post I said that I had been seeing little orange mushrooms all over the place. At first I thought these might be slime mold fruiting bodies but no-they were mushrooms. I saw a few logs with colonies like this one and many more little orange mushrooms growing on the ground, so I must have seen thousands this day on a three hour hike. They are beautiful things to see.

The best time to find mushrooms at this time of year is right after a heavy rain, so if you have thundershowers get into the woods the next day and see these beauties up close and personal. I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t remind everyone once again not to eat any wild thing that you aren’t 100% sure of. Those little orange mushrooms might be cute, but many of them are also deadly. The following quote says it best:

You can eat all mushrooms, but some only once ~ Annonymous

Thanks for stopping in. If I you know of any mistakes in identification please let me know.

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