Thursday, December 03, 2009

Growth of a Fungus: a Puzzle

I went out to a friend's neighborhood to look around in the woods for signs of wildlife. The housing development is right next to large forested areas and there have been problems with bears raiding garbage so she is interested in helping her neighbors be more aware of the animals around them - hopefully with increased awareness will come increased responsibility.

While on our wander through the woods I noticed this bracket fungus with an alder stick going through it a little more than an inch in from the edge. The stick was detached from its tree, but was still fairly firm with much of its bark remaining. Fallen alder branches seem to rot fairly quickly in our wet northwest winters, so I suspect that this branch had fallen since last winter. It was quite firmly encompassed by the fungus though. I have never seen anything suggesting that a shelf fungus would grow so quickly to engulf the limb like that in less than a year. The only alternative that comes to mind (which also seems unlikely to me) is that the stick remained upright and in sturdy condition for the years it might take the fungus to grow that much.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Evening Scene

We've been having a pleasant (if a bit chilly) sunny break lately.