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Posts Tagged ‘White Cheese Polypore’

This is another one of those posts full of unusual things that I see in the woods that don’t seem to fit in other posts.

1. Amber Jelly Fungi

These amber jelly fungi (Exidia recisa) were frozen solid and looked like lollipops, or maybe half lollipops. This fungus is called willow brain because it is often found growing on willows. It produces spores on its upper surface, which is smooth and shiny, and the underside has more of a matte finish. Winter is a great time to find jelly fungi of many kinds, but you have to look closely. Those in the photo were no bigger than a dime-roughly 18mm.

 2. Split Gill Mushroom

Split gill fungi (Schizophyllum commune) are probably the easiest winter fungi to identify because of their wooly winter coats. These mushrooms grow year round on dead limbs but for some reason, I only notice them in winter. That could be because they are very small-no larger than a penny at best-roughly 19mm. They’re also very tough and leathery. They grow on every continent except Antarctica and because of that are said to be the most studied mushroom on earth. Scientists have recently isolated a compound from them that has been shown to inhibit the HIV-1 virus.

3. Split Gill Mushroom-2

The “gills” on the split gill fungus are actually folds on its under surface that split lengthwise when it dries out. This example was very dry. The splits close over the fertile surfaces as the mushroom shrivels in dry weather. When rehydrated by rain the splits reopen, the spore-producing surfaces are exposed to the air, and spores are released.

5. Beech Bud

Beech trees have their long, pointed buds all ready for spring. When these begin to break and unfurl they are one of the most beautiful sights in the forest, in my opinion. The fuzzy, silvery new leaf looks like an angel wing, but just for a very short time.

 6. Zig Zag Tree Wound

I can’t even guess what caused this zig-zag pattern in this tree bark. My first thought was lightning, but that would run from the top down. This scar comes out of the soil and runs about 3 feet up the trunk.

7. Cheese Polypore

White cheese polypore (Tyromyces chioneus) is, according to the website Mushroom Expert.com, just about the most boring mushroom going. But it is a “winter mushroom” and that, in my opinion, makes it at least a little interesting. It grows on hardwood logs and causes white rot, and gets its common name from its scientific one. Tyromyces means “with a cheesy consistency,” and chioneus means “snow white.” These mushrooms are big enough to be seen from a distance and when they are fresh they have a pleasing fragrance that some think is like cheesecake.

8. Frozen Mushroom Gills

This mushroom was frozen solid but had still held on to its colors, which reminded me of fall.

9. Alder Toungue Gall

Instead of being caused by an insect like many galls, alder (Alnus glutinosa) tongue gall is caused by a fungus (Taphrina alni). The fungus chemically deforms parts of the ovarian tissue of the female cone-like catkins (strobiles) and causes long, tongue shaped galls known as languets to grow from them. These galls seem to like high humidity so are usually found on alders that grow near ponds and streams.

10. Orange Jelly Fungi

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this many orange jelly fungi (Dacrymyces palmatus) growing in one place before. They were on a hemlock stump no bigger than the average doughnut. Most of the orange ones that I see are growing on hemlock.

 11. Orange Jelly Fungi 2

These orange jelly fungi (Dacrymyces palmatus) grew inside a hollow log. Walking slowly and looking into hollow logs is a great way to find unexpected things but I only stick my hands in them after I’ve had a look first, because I’ve also seen sharp toothed chipmunks in them.

 12. Black Jelly Fungus

Black jelly fungi (Exidia glandulosa) often decorate alder bark in this area. These were a bit shriveled because of the cold and the lack of rain, but once we see some rain they will swell up and look like puffed up pillows. It’s amazing how much jelly fungi can swell up after a rain.

 13. Witch Hazel Bracts

Last year the witch hazels (Hamamelis virginiana) along the river were still blooming on January 21st, but not this year. All that is left are the cup shaped bracts which the strap shaped yellow petals unfurl from. I think 10 below zero in early December was too cold too soon and “switched them off” for this winter. Normally they won’t bloom much past Thanksgiving, so the last two or three years of seeing them bloom later and later have been unusual.

 14. Maleberry Seed Pods

If you glanced at a maleberry (Lyonia ligustrina) shrub in spring or early summer you might think it was a blueberry, because its flowers resemble blueberry flowers. Both shrubs are in the blueberry family and maleberry is sometimes called male blueberry. You would be waiting a long time to find anything blue on this bush though-its fruit is a hard capsule full of seeds. The 5 part capsules make this an easy shrub to identify in winter. I just look for the star on the end of the capsules. I find them on the banks of ponds, growing next to alders.

Commonly we stride through the out-of-doors too swiftly to see more than the most obvious and prominent things. For observing nature, the best pace is a snail’s pace.  ~Edward Way Teale

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New readers of this blog might not know this, but I’m always finding things that never seem to fit into other posts. When I have found enough of these unusual, sometimes bizarre and often beautiful things, I put them all in a post of their own. That’s what this post is.

1. Marasimus Mushrooms

The twig that these mushrooms grew on was less than half the diameter of a pencil, so that should help illustrate just how small these mushrooms were. By the time I found them it hadn’t rained for a few days so they were kind of dry. I think these are one of the Marasimus mushrooms-possibly Marasimus epiphyllus.

2. Bee on Red Clover

I’ve been giving red clover blossoms a closer look this year and have found that they vary greatly in color, sometimes appearing as a washed out pale pink that can look almost white all the way to a deep rose / purple color. I’ve been taking photos of the flower heads and letting my color finding software tell me what it sees. The software tells me that this one with a bee or hoverfly on it is pale violet, thistle, and plum.

3. Red Clover

Compared to the flower head in the previous photo this is very dark. The color finding software sees dark orchid, violet and medium purple. Red clover flower heads are made up of many individual florets, each having 5 petals. One petal is called a banner, 2 petals on either side of the banner are called wings, and 2 more fused petals make up what is called the keel. The keel encloses the reproductive structures.

 4. Bracken Fern

 Bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) climb all over each other, trying to be the one to reach the sun first. These ferns are now almost 4 feet tall. Bracken fern releases chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants, and this gives it the ability to form large colonies with reduced competition from other species.

5. Deer Tracks

A deer (or more than one) went the same way I was going and not too long before, judging by the freshness of its footprints in the damp sand. I was wondering if I scared it off.

6. Goldsmith Beetle aka Cotalpa lanigera

I was walking along the side of a road one day and saw something in the road that didn’t look like it belonged there. It turned out to be this Goldsmith Beetle (Cotalpa lanigera.) This beetle was quite big-at least as long as the diameter of a quarter-and had a metallic shine, as if it had been painted with metallic paint. I wish that I had taken a photo or two of its underside, which is said to shine red-gold like polished copper. I can’t remember ever seeing this one before.

7. Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

I’m so colorblind that if this eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) had of just stayed still I probably never would have seen him. Instead he dashed across the path in front of me and froze. He convinced himself that he was invisible and that gave me time to fumble around with my camera, trying to get a photo. He let me take as many as I wanted but as soon as I took a step he was gone in a gray streak. I chose this shot because you can see his round cottony tail.

 8. Timothy

Timothy is blooming. No that’s not the title of a 60s song about Timothy Leary-it’s about the grass known as Timothy (Phleum pretense.) I’ve been waiting for it to flower because I think it’s the most beautiful of all the grasses. The story of how this grass got its name says that it was unintentionally introduced from Europe in 1711 and in 1720 a farmer named Timothy Hanson began to cultivate it. The grass took on his name and has been called Timothy ever since. It is an excellent hay grass.

 9. English Plantain

English plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is also blooming. This is another plant with a beautiful flower. This plant is considered a common weed found in lawns and waste places now, but it wasn’t always that way; Anglo-Saxons had nine sacred herbs that they believed protected them from sickness and other evils, and this was one of them. At that time, no other plants had such an elevated status. This plantain was cultivated in Europe and brought here in colonial times to be used medicinally. Native Americans called it “white man’s footprint,” because it grew wherever the colonists went.

10. White Cheese Polypore on Log

White Cheese Polypore (Tyromyces chioneus) grew on the end of a log. The Tyromyces part of the scientific name means “with a cheesy consistency” and chioneus means “snow white,” so both the common and scientific names for this fungus say the same thing. This fungus has a scent that some people say is like cheese cake.

11. Dark Green Bulrush aka Scirpus atrovirens

Many sedges and rushes grow near water and I like to include water in their photo if I can. That isn’t always as easy as it sounds, but this time it worked and I liked the color of the water behind these dark green bulrushes (Scirpus atrovirens.) Bulrushes aren’t true rushes, but are members of the sedge family. In Anglo Saxon times a sedge was any plant that grew near water, but now a sedge is one of nearly 1000 species in the genus Carex.

12. Sunset-2

While waiting for the moon to rise one night I saw this colorful sunset.

13. Full Moon on 6-21-13

The moon I was waiting for was a “super moon,” according to those in the know. This super moon was a moon that was both full and at its closest point to the earth for this year. It will not be as close to the earth again until August of next year. I wanted to get a view of it reflected in water and I drove around to rivers, lakes and ponds but I could never get to the side of the body of water that would have shown its reflection.

I have since found that there is a freeware program called “The Photographers Ephemeris,” which you can get by clicking here. In a nutshell, this program lets you position yourself anywhere on a Google map and see in which direction the sun and moon will rise and set from that position. I could have put myself on the accessible part of the local lake shore and seen beforehand, with a high degree of accuracy, that the moon wouldn’t be reflecting in the lake and saved myself the drive. The program can be used on computers or phones.

The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. ~ Henri Poincaré

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Another group of mushrooms are bracket or shelf fungi. They can be just as colorful as the mushrooms in the last post and are usually easier to find because they usually grow up off the ground on trees, stumps, and logs.

In my last post I told how I had stumbled upon the biggest mushroom I had ever seen, which was a chicken of the woods (Laetiporus Cincinnatus.) The very day that I wrote that, I found another chicken of the woods growing at the base of a tree not 10 feet from the road. This one was even bigger than the first-easily as big as a car tire-so I put a quarter on it to give you an idea of scale. You have to look closely-this one is so big that it makes the quarter look like a dime. I think these are hairy stereum bracket fungi, also called hairy curtain crust (Stereum hirsutum.) The common name comes from the way these fungi are covered with fine hairs on their upper surface when young. As they age they lose the hairs and become smooth like other bracket fungi.  Colors can vary but the hairs and very wavy edges help with identification. They like to grow on fallen deciduous trees and are one of the false turkey tail fungi. False turkey tail fungi are a polypore, which basically means they have pores instead of gills. This mushroom was growing on a stump and it was quite large. I think it might be a tiger sawgill (Lentinus tigrinus.) Apparently the name refers to the scales on the cap that are supposed to resemble a tiger like pattern.  Tigers have stripes and to me the scales look more like spots, so shouldn’t it be a leopard sawgill? The Lentus part of the scientific name means tough or pliant. When this mushroom grows on a living deciduous tree it causes white rot, and that means the tree is finished. I think this might be another hairy stereum (Stereum hirsutum) bracket fungus just getting started. It’s interesting to see how it seems to flow out from under the bark almost as if it were liquid rather than solid. I’m not sure what its little friend wanted, but he might have been looking for some lunch. I think these might be white cheese polypores  (Tyromyces chioneus.) This is another bracket fungus that causes white rot. They start life soft, watery, and velvety and then yellow slightly and become hard and smooth. When very old they look shriveled or wrinkled. Their common name comes from their scientific name- Tyromyces means “with a cheesy consistency,” and chioneus means “snow white.” I’m not sure if these had a cheesy consistency, but they were certainly snow white. Some bracket fungi have gills on their undersides, some have pores, and some are “toothed” with many tiny spines. True turkey tail fungi (Trametes versicolor) have pores and false turkey tails have a smooth brown surface. That’s the easiest way to tell the two apart. The Stereum ostrea pictured here (I think) is a false turkey tail. These fungi live on hardwood logs and cause white rot. The one pictured here was quite young. Often age and even where the fungus grows will cause variations in size, shape and color in bracket fungi.   The thin dark strip before the white edge leads me to believe that this is a Ganoderma applanatum, which is called artist’s fungus, artist’s conk, or artist’s polypore. The art comes in when the white flesh is scratched and the scratches turn a light brown color. I have one that I drew a picture on over 30 years ago. I can’t be positive that’s what it is though because the colors vary so much and I didn’t test this one to see if its flesh was brown / cinnamon colored. This one was quite big-about the size of a dinner plate. These look orange brown to me. Identifying them has proven much harder than it should be, but I think they might be another example of hairy stereum bracket fungi (Stereum hirsutum.) These fungi have such variable colors and shape that it’s hard to know for sure. I got a little frustrated at not being able to see the colors of these fungi accurately so I just this minute found a shareware program called “What Color.” You just put the cursor on a color and it tells you what it is. So far, it seems accurate. In these turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) it sees tan, dark khaki, thistle (purple,) plum (darker purple,) light slate gray, olive green, dark sea green, steel blue, light steel blue, rosy brown, and sienna.  That seems like an awful lot of colors. I think tan with light purple edges would do. This bracket fungus reminds me of those old balloon tires with wide white walls. I think this might be called the red banded polypore (Fomitopsis pinicola.) If it is, the top reddish part of the fungus will become one in several bands of yellows, reds, orange-reds and finally black nearest the tree.  Rust red is the band color farthest from the tree. Its white flesh turns yellow when bruised. Red banded polypore is said to grow on over 100 species of trees.  Another very similar fungus is the resinous polypore (Ischnoderma resinosumThese horse hoof shaped fungi are called tinder polypore (Fomes fomentarius)because of their age old use as tinder to start fires. In the middle ages strips of these fungi were used in flintlock rifles. A spark from a flint would ignite the tinder polypore, which in turn would ignite the gunpowder. The Cree tribe of Native Americans also used these fungi to carry coals from one place to another. Tinder polypores produce huge amounts of spores; measurements in the field have shown that they release as many as 800 million spores per hour in the spring and summer! They grow on dead deciduous trees and logs. I found 30 or more marching up a dead maple one day. The shareware color finding program sees dark salmon pink in these turkey tails, along with greens, browns, and grays. I would have said brown with a white edge. Many of the turkey tails I saw last winter had a lot of purples and blues in them but so far this year they lean more toward browns and tans. I wish I could find information on what causes the colors in bracket fungi-I wonder if cold affects color. My color finding software says saddle brown nearest the tree, then 100% gray on the body, and then white on the outer edge. I can agree with that.  I can’t find this mushroom in either of my books, which illustrates how sometimes the most common looking mushrooms are the hardest to identify. According to the color finding software the colors found in these are light blue, lavender, light steel blue, saddle brown, sea green, olive green, slate gray, light cyan, Alice blue, azure, tan, and sienna. I’m amazed how many colors can be found in turkey tails (Trametes versicolor.) And these are the plain ones!

Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom ~ Thomas Carlyle

Thank you for having a look.

 

 

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