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Posts Tagged ‘Fan shaped jelly fungus’

We have been wet here lately, but have seen more liquid than the white fluffy variety. Still, our local weatherman is hinting at big changes coming next week so we may see some snow before Christmas. Or maybe not-the Weather Channel is saying rain.

1. Misty Forest

It’s getting harder to find the sun lately and the forests look like the one in the picture on most days. Though it’s easy to think that not much is going on in the cold and damp December woods, nothing could be further from the truth-there is still a lot of nature happening.

2. Fallen Tree One of the nice things about this time of year is that you can see the bones of the forest. If all of the underbrush still had leaves I never would have seen this twisted, mossy log.

3. December 3rd Aster

Though it’s not the prettiest aster I’ve seen, this one was still blooming on December 3rd.

 4. December 3rd Mushroom

This pinkish brown mushroom was trying hard on the same day.

5. Fan Shaped Jelly Fungus aks Dacryopinax spathularia

I’ve read that jelly fungi like witch’s butter can absorb so much water when it rains that they turn white. I wondered if the same thing was happening to these- what I think are- fan shaped jelly fungi (Dacryopinax spathularia.)

6. Evergreen Christmas Fern

Some people say that the leaflets (Pinna) of the evergreen Christmas fern ( Polystichum acrostichoides) look like little Christmas stockings. You can see why if you look at the leaflet just to the right of the gap, and right up near the stem in the photo. Each leaflet has a little bump or “ear.” This is the only fern in the New Hampshire woods with this feature, so it makes a Christmas fern very easy to identify. The short leaf stems (petioles,) serrated leaflet margins, and hairy central stem are other things to watch for when looking for this fern.

7. Pixie Cup Lichen

Lichens are also very easy to see at this time of year but some, like these pixie cup lichens (Cladonia pyxidata,) are small enough to still make them challenging to find. A single drop of water would be far too big to fit into one of these little cups.

8. Foliose Lichen

Lichens dry out quickly when it is dry but plump right back up again when it rains, as this foliose lichen shows. It had been drizzling steadily for two days when I took this picture. I haven’t been able to find this lichen in any lichen books or online.

 9. Orange Brown Lichen

I’ve never seen this orange-brown crustose lichen before and can’t find anything like it in Lichens of the North Woods.

 10. Turkey Tails

I’m seeing turkey tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) that are more colorful than those I saw just a month ago. Blue is a hard color to find in nature so the different blues in these examples really caught my eye. I still have a feeling that cold weather has something to do with their color. They seem to be brown/tan in early fall and then as the temperature drops they get more colorful. Of course, it could be that I’m just seeing both brown/tan and colorful varieties. I’ve got to find one example that is easy to get to and watch it over several months.

11. Lemon Drops and Turkey Tails on a Log

The much more common brown turkey tails and lemon drop jelly fungi (Bisporella citrina) decorated the end of this log.

 12. White Cushion Moss

White cushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) isn’t really white but it does form a cushion. It can also form large mats, but the ball shape shown in the photo is more common. This moss needs plenty of shade and water.

 13. Dead Mushroom Gills

It’s not just growing things that are interesting. I liked the color and shape of this dead mushroom.

14. Woven Beech Trees

This is something I don’t see in the woods every day; when they were much younger than they are now somebody wove these three beech (Fagus) seedlings together. As they grew and finally touched, they rubbed against each other in the wind until the bark had rubbed away. Now they have grown together through inosculation, which is a natural process very similar to the grafting done in orchards. One day they may grow into a single, twisted trunk.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy ~Anton Chekhov

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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

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