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

See Everything by Looking for Nothing

This life lesson started out with a lost lens cap.

It fell out of my pocket in the woods.

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So if I don’t find it soon, it will be covered with leaves.

There are no paths in my woods.

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I meander around without much notice of my location.

These are my woods. I can’t get lost, but a lens cap can.

I felt obliged to go look for it. It would be easier to find a needle in a haystack.

I took my camera, as usual.

I was looking for a round, dark, man-made object.

Here are my pictures from the search.

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Round, dark, man-made objects.  Blah!

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Today, I went into my woods looking for nothing.

I found everything!

Moss, mushrooms, fairy houses, lichens…

and (NO LIE) the lens cap.

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Open mind… Open eyes…

See everything while looking for nothing.

Go with the FLOW.

The Poisonous Path

I went into the woods this evening

to try to locate a lovely bracket fungi that I had photographed previously.

I needed to look up to find it,

but one must always look down while walking in the woods.

This is how I found the path…

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of white mushrooms.

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Yes, they are poisonous Amanitas.  They are lovely but deadly.

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Fear not. I was following their path, not eating them.

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A circle of these is called a fairy ring, so I thought of this as a fairy path.

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If YOU found a fairy path in the woods wouldn’t YOU follow it?

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Every ten feet or so was another cluster of lovely, glowing, white mushrooms.

It went on and on until I had to pause in awe.

There before my very eyes was the Mother of all mushrooms.

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It was big enough to wear as a hat.

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It was a magical adventure. I am so lucky.

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The FLOWER follows a poisonous path through the woods and survives to tell the tale.

What can we learn from Fungi?

There is devastation in Texas, Mexico, Florida and many of the Islands below Florida.

Once all the power and water are back on, there is a big souvenir pile left.

Debris. Non-biodegradable. Non-reusable. Trash.

Soggy sheet rock, insulation, plastics, moldy furniture, ruined appliances and cars…

Dig a hole? Throw it in it?  Have you forgotten the water table below?

Nature experiences its own devastation.

Who cleans up?

Fungi.

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They break down the dead trees and leaves and return the nutrients to the soil.

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This isn’t the end of the story.

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Things eat the mushrooms. They are food for the living, while living off of the dead.

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That’s called a cycle. The circle of life.

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Until we humans figure out we are all part of this same web,

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we may end up in one of these holes we keep digging.

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FLOWER

Finding the Falls

Across the lake, past the island, under the bridge,

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around the bend, through the farm pond

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left of the rushes and mallows,

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up the creek, under the hornet’s nest

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through the floating fungi,

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over the sand bar, down by the liverworts

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toward the sound of running water, up to the rocks

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there is a lovely little water fall.

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FLOW

 

An Evening Walk in the Woods

I took a walk down our road this evening.

I wanted to photograph two of our wildflowers.

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Jewelweed/ Impatiens capensis/Touch me nots

The orange Jewel weed was being molested by a group of hummingbirds.

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They were zipping through the patch, shaking the plants and making all kinds of racket.

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Periodically one would sit and rest on the nearby Pokeberry weed.

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I also wanted to get some pictures of hearts-a-bustin’.

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Hearts-a-bustin/ Euonymus americanus

I cut across my neighbors’ property on the way home.

I found even more fungi.

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Red -belted polypore/ bracket fungi

This snail is having this knocked-over-one for supper.

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Amanita ? Poisonous ? Never eat tall white.

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‘Tis the season!

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Snail on a mushroom on a tree. Food chain!

Snails love their ‘shrooms!

Wild FLOWER

Go Find Some Fungi

When the ground is too soggy to dig in,

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Witches’ butter

I put on my rubber shoes and go mushroom hunting.

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Ringless Honey mushrooms

I do not eat what I find.

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Splash Cup

I like my liver too much to risk eating a poisonous fungus.

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Turkey tail polypore

This snail is enjoying a snack.

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I only know common names of some of these.  Please forgive my ignorance.

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Violet toothed polypore

I have always been fascinated by fungi.

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Maybe I should start another blog called fungialley.

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Russula

I consider fungi both beautiful and beneficial.

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Clitocybe? (some are poisonous others edible)

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I took all these photos this past weekend in my yard and in the woods behind my house.

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I did go out in a kayak and found some floating fungi.  That will be another post.

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If a reader knows the true identifications of any of these, please send me a message.

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FLOWER loves fungi.

Out with the Old, NOW!

My Christmas tree flocked itself!

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If you don’t know what “flocking” is, it is a method of spraying fake snow on a tree.

My tree took on a flocked appearance overnight, due to our ramping up the heat.

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At first I thought the little white specks were moving.  Mealy bugs?

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Upon closer inspection, I saw the specks were actually tiny fibers blowing due to the fan.

I snipped of some whitened shoots and popped the pieces under the microscope.

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There was a fungus among us.

The tree was unceremoniously stripped of its ornaments in record time.

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We hauled it out on the deck with the lights still on.

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No need to spread the spores.

Out with the Old.

Happy New Year from the FLOWER and her fungus.

A Conk On An Oak

This is a rather large and lovely fruiting body of a fungus.

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Although I was happy to find it, it is a bad sign for the oak on which it resides.

It is also referred to as root rot or butt rot.

This part of the fungi is called a basidocarp. These can get several feet wide and over half a foot tall.

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The top is a mixture of oranges, browns and whites. The top is hard and leathery or rubbery.   The underside is white with tiny pores.

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These two were found around the base of my neighbors’ oak.  This is twice as bad as finding one because it means the decay is more severe. (Sorry M & N.)

I also spotted the one below downtown, which I plan to report to our local arborist.

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The Conk is lovely but a deadly delight.

FLOWER