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Fundamentals of Fungi: Nature Decorates with a Delicate Orange Crepe

No 2000+ word screeds today, I’m afraid – I’d had all the research done for what I wanted to write, only it turned out to not be what I want to write, and so I’m busy with further research for what I really want to write, which is hopefully going to be what I want to write about tomorrow. I’d be a good distance along by now, except I put an episode of Vera on in the background and got sucked in by mistake. Someday, I’ll have to talk about that show. A complete dissertation will have to wait until I’ve acclimated to the accents. Getting there.

Anyway, seeing as how Seattle’s continuing its campaign to ensure our winter is nothing but cold, wet, soggy, and far from picturesque, I thought I’d put a dash of color in. This is a strange little something I saw growing all over a tree at Juanita Bay during a drippy February two years ago. That’s one thing about fungi. It adds a touch of interest to otherwise drab scenery.

Fungi I

Fungi I

The next time the sky stops dripping, I should go back down to Juanita and see what else is growing round there. You can see things in the winter you wouldn’t be able to see any other season. Leaves, you know. Stupid leaves everywhere. You know what takes care of that? Volcanic eruptions. Also, winter. But the volcanic eruptions are rather more unusual and interesting, so we’ll be discussing their effect on trees within the next week or two. Problem with eruptions is they also strip the fungi from trees, so I suppose when I go to Juanita, I’ll be grateful we’re in the lowland where directed blasts aren’t to blame for the bare branches.

I mean, this never would have survived a good scouring from a pyroclastic density current, would it? It looks rather delicate.

Fungi II

Fungi II

Right. That’s pretty, then. Nature is pretty good at this exterior decorating stuff. At least until other aspects of nature go off like bombs and muck it all up.  We could probably have a long and productive conversation about impermanence and that sort o’ thing, but I’ve got to get back to work or you won’t have the enthralling missive on some aspect of volcanic eruptions or other that you deserve.

Comments

  1. wrpinpnw says

    Fungi aren’t really my thing, but it looks like witches’ butter – Tremella mesenterica.

    I’ve heard that it’s edible, but I’m not nearly confident enough in my fungus-fu to try it out.

  2. Mattir says

    I think it’s witches butter too.

    And I love this feature. I was looking through my photo stream on my iPad the other day and realized that I take as many pictures of fungus as I do of my cats. Both of which are greater than the number of pictures I take of (gasp) people. I’ve even managed to contaminate the kids in my summer camps with fungus-photography love – they can find the most astonishingly tiny things and come running, shouting “Miz M! Miz M! I found a FUNGUS!!!”

  3. Peter B says

    I graduated from High School in 1959. On summer vacations before then my parents took their children dirt camping in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. One of my recollections was of Carl Sharsmith. As a seasonal ranger he led nature walks. He went with campers to the top of Mt. Dana (13061 feet) near Tioga Pass. For me at 15 or 16 the last 500 to 600 feet in elevation was slow. Need. More. Oxygen. The view from the top was breath taking. We could see Mono Lake and the dry areas east of the Sierra range.

    I got carried away. Back to Carl Sharsmith. Whenever someone would pick a flower and ask was it was his answer was always the same: “That sir [or ma’am] is a picked flower.” No other details were provided.

    This same respect for things botanical did not apply to fungi. Shown a mushroom (even a freshly picked one) or something growing on a fallen tree he would give the official Latin sounding name as well as the more common, non-botanist name. He would then proceed to eat some if was both not dangerous and tasty. He would share some of the less tasty parts with those around him.