Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shroomin' at FRC, Part I

 We've already experienced a fair amount of wind and rain and a bit of snow this fall, but a few days of warmer weather, although still rainy, has brought a lot of color of a different sort than what is normally celebrated as "fall colors."  A couple of weeks ago the Goldenrod shown above was under six inches of snow for a few days.  Amazingly, now that the snow has melted it is still blooming.
My walk around campus this morning was ostensibly a search for newly emerged mushrooms, but a few other items caught my eye on the way to the first fungi.
 In front of the college library, I had enjoyed the brightly blooming Rabbitbrush for a couple of months along with the dense gatherings of Skippers and Thread-waisted Wasps that found them to be attractive landing pads.  Now that the insects are gone and the Rabbitbrush has gone to seed, it is still attractive.
 Some of the largest Black Oaks I've seen grow on the FRC campus near buildings and I'm so glad they were preserved when the campus was built.  This one by the Student Center is huge and supports a great crop of moss that is very bright green during these wet days.
 At the base of one of the larger oaks I found this pair of fungi which when viewed from above looked like the stumps of two young oaks.  A side view shows the gills and the fact they are obviousy fungi.
 This cluster of purplish brown fungi is growing near the Orange Peel Fungi I pictured here a few days ago.  I think they might be of the genus Laccaria, but I'm no fungi expert.  I found the color intriguing, especially when surrounded by the bright green mosses, leafy greens of various kinds, and the bright orange Orange Peel Fungi that are still thriving there.
 In this same area I found patches of a fungus that reminded me of shredded brains.  They might be in a group called Coral Fungi, genus Ramaria, but again, I'm no fungus expert.  I just love looking at them and thinking about all the work they do converting forest detritus into soil and facilitating the absorption of nutrients by the plants.
 These clusters of pure white fungi were partially hidden by a layer of pine needles, but they literally shined so I couldn't miss them.  I removed some pine needles for the photo then replaced them.  Much work left for them to do.
After checking my favorite areas around the buildings on the upper campus, I took the nature trail back to my car.  One of the first great sights along the trail was the Turkey-Tail Fungus.  There were clusters of them on the trunks of many of the oaks.  Tomorrow I'll post Part II of my walk.  The forest was dark and quiet, so I was imagining that I was being watched.  I wonder....

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