Conk up: Tree down

I am fascinated by all things fungi.

This particular conk, Inonotus dryadeus, has been featured in my posts before.

It was growing at the base of  a huge oak in my neighbors’ yard.

Another name for this type of fungi is “white rot.”

It is a symptom of the decline of the tree it is on.

The more conks present, the more disease.

Conks are a symptom, not a cause.

Last week the tree came down,

with some help from a team of men with ropes and chain saws.

My neighbor left the conk on my stone bench because she knew I would want to keep it.

Here it is now out of the ground and upside down.

I think it is beautiful.

Maybe I could make it into a hat to match these shoes?

FLOWER

Itty Bitty Bird’s Nests

These fungi have the common name of “Bird’s Nest” or splash cups.

Each may look like a tiny nest full of eggs, but it acts like a catapult .

No bird mama would shoot her precious eggs out of the nest like balls from a canon,

but this Cyanthus olla does just that.

These tiny splash cups are ripe and ready for rain.

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Bird’s nest fungi Cyanthus olla

When a raindrop plops into the cup, it triggers an ejection mechanism (funiculus)

to shoot out the eggs (peridioles) with a coil and sticky blob attached.

This contraption flies a few feet into the air and the coil wraps around whatever it hits.

The “egg” hangs around until it dries and splits open, releasing its spores.

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Bird’s nest fungi Cyanthus olla

Then many more itty bitty bird’s nest form.  Who knew fungi could be so fun?

FLOWER

The Beauty of Decay

There are many reasons that I love fungi.

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I have featured them many times on this blog.

When one sees mushrooms, brackets and their kin

we know that something is dead or dying.

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Beauty in death?  Yes.

Everything must die.

Fungi takes the valuable organic molecules and recycles them back

to a usable form.

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Decomposition is a renewing process.

I think these weeping conks are beautiful.

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The dying tree is all ready sharing the wealth it harvested from the sun

during its growing years.

Giving back to its neighbors as it declines.

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Beautiful isn’t it?

FLOW

In a Canoe to Up a Tree

My family spent a cool afternoon in the mountains20180813_125423.jpg

paddling around a lake in kayaks and a canoe.

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We stick to the perimeter because there is so much to see along the shore.

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That’s how I spotted these lovely brackets from the water.

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After our time on the water, I tracked down this dead tree.

I had to do some climbing to get these photos.

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There were at least three years worth of Ganoderma on the trunk.

I am hesitant to identify any fungi for fear someone will

find that fungus and eat it or make some tea

and lose their liver because of me.

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Ganoderm

It is a polypore.  That means it has pores instead of gills.

I am so happy that when the flowers start to fade,

the fungi emerge.

FLOW

The Mushroom of Immortality

I found them clinging to the side of an old maple tree.

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The color glowed in the morning sun.

Eating it could give spiritual potency and even immortality.

Such a lovely shine and color.

Shaped like a delicate pastry in a bakery.

Arranged nicely along the trunk like a serving tower.

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One little Ling Chih was caught between trees.

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Should I just eat some here under the tree?

Would there be enough for me to share with my family?

Should I carry some back to give to my elderly parents?

I really should share my good fortune with others…but how much and with who?

Did I remove the Ganoderma lucidum from the tree?

Did I eat the Ling Chih?

We shall see.

FLOWER

 

A Few Sunny Minutes

During the few sunny minutes yesterday,

I took pictures and planted some dahlias that I had started in pots.

Everything is wet here in North Carolina.

At least we do live high on a hill, so no flooding worries for our house.

The gardens….are like pudding.

So while we are inside again today. Here are some sunny pictures from yesterday.

My memorial day photo is first.  A red Asiatic lily with a blue dragon fly.

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I also include my favorite little Asiatic from my daughter’s  lily garden below.

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It’s the tiny two in the middle. Named ‘Tiny Bee.’

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Tiny Bee Asiatic lily

More slime mold showed up in the bunny yard.

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I see why the slime mold, Fuligo septic, is nicknamed “dog vomit.”  If I had a dog, I’d be taking him to the vet after finding this.  Mold and mushrooms are everywhere!

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Another new daylily is blooming, ‘Nutmeg Spice.’

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Nutmeg Spice daylily

I have been cleaning my workshop during these many days of rain.

Do not expect a photo. I am ashamed of its neglect and nastiness.

Try to stay dry people.

FLOWER

Alien Invades the Bunny Yard

I spotted it early this morning,

hiding up against one of the deck posts.

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I kept an eye on it all day.

By afternoon it had slithered around the side of the pole.

It left prints wherever it went.

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Slime mold on the back of pole AM
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Slime mold back of pole PM

I hope it leaves soon.

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I’m not really scared of the thing.

I am pretty sure we can outrun it.

FLOW

 

I Found an Earthstar

I found an Earthstar in my yard.

Its rays were spread, its sac was flat, its spores were gone.

Its job was done.

I peeked into the mouth-like hole to see if I could spot a spore.

But all were washed away by rain.

This tiny barometer knew just when

to unfold rays and open its pore

to send its tiny jewels into the wet world

to be stars.

The Conk Colony

I have been watching the growth of a group of conks around an old oak in town.

I think its scientific name is Inonotus dryadeus. 

Other common names are weeping conk, oak bracket, warted oak polypore and weeping polypore.

Inonotus dryadeus

It is a beautiful sight, but a bad sign.

The presence of the weeping conks is a sign of root rot or butt rot. More and bigger conks mean more rot for the tree.

I posted on a lone giant conk last year. This group is a block away from that one.

conk cross-section

This city has very old oak trees in the hell strips.

The roots get damage from the sidewalk side and the street side.

It’s amazing they have lived this long.

I find all fungi fascinating whether they are friend or foe.

FLOWER