Friday, December 6, 2013
Snow's Gone Woods Walk
All of our early snow has melted. Big game hunting season is nearly over and the sounds of gunshots have become infrequent. With my head inside of a bright orange hat, it seemed safe enough to venture out into our woods. Expecting only a walk outside in sunshine and fresh air, spots of unusual color surprised me. This long dead hemlock stump is supporting life forms of amazing variety.
Green moss and ferns are common in the woods now, but the bright purple fungus caught my attention from a considerable distance. The identity of this mushroom may be Ganoderma lucidum. Its form, texture and color certainly catch and hold the eye. A massive stem seems to spring from the interior of the stump. Guide book drawings suggest that the root of the growth may originate in the ground beneath the stump. An attempt to stage the photo by moving the fern leaf aside was thwarted since the fungus had grown around the fern stem. That turned out to be a good thing as the contrast in color makes the picture.
These tan fungus are fairly common in our wet woods. Fallen trees are all too common here as a result of the unusually strong storms that have recently passed by. We expected our trees to long outlast us but sadly that has not proved to be the case. Still, the fallen trees support a wide variety of life. I wonder what drilled the series of tiny holes in the lower right corner of the picture.
Orange peel peziza, Aleuria aurantia, appears to be the name of this bright beauty. Our guide book describes it as edible but we do not eat wild mushrooms. A mistake in identification can end ones kidney function so we prefer to avoid that risk. This must be a young specimen since its surface is unblemished. Whatever the actual identity of this mushroom is, finding it made my walk in the woods a memorable experience.
PS. See comment from Wiseacre for corrections in identification on this post!