Daniel Greenwood

The language of leaves

Posts tagged ‘Bracket fungi’

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-75

Fungi Friday 3rd April 2020 (or Friday 9th November 2019)

I can’t get out to anywhere that has mushrooms to photograph and we’re also experiencing something of a dry spell in Sussex. That means that this week I’m posting about my fungal highlight of autumn 2019, which took place on Friday 9th November. Consider this a bit of a sporting or cinematic classics TV show, until we’re allowed to venture further and any spring rain arrives. The inconsistent nature of mushroom fruiting bodies means I may have to wheel this out again to keep it going every week.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-91

It was mid-November with autumn at its peak. The colours of the beech trees were at their most explosive. In the woodlands of the Sussex Weald, there were millions of mushrooms. They seemed to be under every footstep and fruiting from every fallen tree.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-10

It was clear it was peak mushroom time. The bonnets were out en masse and many leaves were still on the trees. I have come to think that fungi hunting is so much easier before the leaves fall. The leaf litter created by oak and beech is very hefty.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-88

I would also consider using hazel as an indicator. When those leaves start to yellow and fall, you know it’s going to be more difficult. Winter is on its way.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-39

Bonnets are some of the best fungi to photograph because they’re often elevated on the limbs of fallen trees, meaning you don’t have to scrabble around on the ground. It’s also a very nice height for a tripod. A tripod gives you the steadiness to use slow shutter speeds which makes it so much easier to take pics in a dark woodland in autumn. Also, mushrooms don’t move!

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-14

What I am looking for in general is a mushroom that can be isolated. A macro lens gives a very shallow depth of field, which means that the focus is thin and the background easily blurs. This kind of thing is perfect. I don’t focus stack images (a complex process of threading images together which have different stages of focus) but this would look really good with every aspect in focus.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-48

This is also what’s so nice about elevated fungi. You can play around and get some nice bokeh (the circles in the background). This is created by daylight flooding through the leaves – can you see the wash of green? I used a small LED light to light the gills of the bonnets. They look almost like paper or plastic to me. The idea also occurred to me that the white bokeh circles look like the mushrooms, too.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-27

These are probably more bonnets. Again, taking a photo of the gills underneath can create a really beautiful effect. I could have pulled the bit of dead wood off to reveal the other mushroom but I fundamentally disagree with damaging habitats for the sake of a photo.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-18

A species I learned last year was buttercap (or at least I think I have). This is said to be a common species. I like the fairytale shape of the stipe as it bulges at the base.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-1

The woodland was entering peak autumn colour. These beech leaves still held traces of their chlorophyll.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-62

It was a beautiful day to be in the woods. I can’t tell you how much a woodland stream adds to the overall experience!

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-79

With what is approaching a lake, you’re spoiled rotten.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-21

Back to the shrooms. I found probably the biggest fungus I have ever seen, though you could argue it is several fruiting bodies fused together. I even added some in-photo text to help explain the situation to you. Very advanced. This is a bracket fungus that looks more like a ray. It’s probably artist’s bracket, a Ganoderma species. Below it you can see some smaller mushrooms, these are all deceivers. They were just about covering the entire area here. It was almost impossible not to step on one. By the way don’t worry that’s my hand not a mushroom burglar’s.

Ebernoe - 8-11-2019 blog-77

All in all this was my peak mushroom experience in autumn 2019.

Thanks for reading.

More mushrooms

 

 

 

1 Comment

Warnhqm_8-3-2020_LRCC-01

Fungi Friday 13th March 2020

No self-respecting person goes out looking for mushrooms in March. The mushrooms come to you. Or in this case (above), the bracket mushrooms will hover over your head and attempt to abduct you ala UFOs visiting nocturnal fields in the southern states of the USA. I’m unsure of what this bracket fungus is but it is probably the funniest. I actually ‘laughed out loud’. It’s growing from a poplar in a wetland reserve in the Sussex Weald. If you look closely enough it also looks like a grumpy frog.

Warnhqm_8-3-2020_LRCC-16

This great spotted woodpecker was looking for his lunch nearby. Thankfully his attempt to fool me into thinking he was a bracket fungus didn’t work. It got more weird:

Fungi_Friday_13-3-2020_lo-res-1

Alongside what is known in Sussex as a ‘gill’, a stream rushing through woodland, I found this horror. Now I’m unsure whether this is the jellied remains of an old bracket fungus or simply the remains of a jelly fungus. It could also be something far worse. I prodded it with a twig and it jiggled, so I would go with it being a jelly fungus. It was delicious. Kidding, it wasn’t. As in, I didn’t eat it.

Fungi_Friday_13-3-2020_lo-res-3

The only fungal wow moment of the past week has been this encounter with splitgill fungus growing from a pine tree. This was a plantation of thousands of pine trees with very little variety in structure, tree species or ground flora. Keep an eye out for my next Sussex Weald post on that. These mushrooms stood out like many sore thumbs.

Warnhqm_8-3-2020_LRCC-13

The lichenised fungi also provided a rather artistic sight. I think this is a species of poplar. It has crustose lichens growing around the trunk. In a tweet the British Lichen Society pointed out that this is evidence that trees grow outward rather than upward. Why is this? It’s because trees are constantly putting on new layers of wood internally, behind the bark. These layers of tissue form the static mass of the tree. It is in effect a kind of waste product but it gives the tree some structure.

Warnhqm_8-3-2020_LRCC-02

Take this stunning dead oak which was also seen on the same day as the lichens. The bark is falling away from the tree as it decays (thanks to fungi in part) and the layers of wood internally are exposed.

Warnhqm_8-3-2020_LRCC-12

All that, from the fact that lichens look a bit like bird poos delivered at high velocity from the leftfield.

Thanks for reading!

More fungi

Leave a comment