Thursday, December 8, 2022

Fungal Revival!

Until recently, our dry, warm fall had not inspired many fungi to fruit.  But I haven't given up hope yet.   After all, I didn't find the beautiful array of Crimped Gill Fungus (Plicaturopsis crispa) pictured here until late last winter, while snow still lay deep on the ground in early March.  This was such a beautiful frieze of fungal finery, I carried this fallen limb home with me and placed it on the ground next to a tree stump in my yard, hoping it would shed its spores close to my back door.

Until now, I had not seen any sign of Crimped Gills emerging in my yard this fall.  But then we had two days of rain, so I went out to check on my limb.  Ta da!  One tiny cluster has sprouted!  Not the fantastic fungal array I found 9 months ago, but maybe this is just the start.  This is a fungus that hangs around all winter, after all, so perhaps this is just the start of its abundance.

The Crimped Gill Fungus is such a pretty, frilly little thing, the color of caramel edged with marshmallow.

But the most distinctive trait of the Crimped Gill Fungus is the underside, with the fertile surface displaying masses of radiating wrinkles.  Despite the common name, these wrinkles are not true gills, but they do serve the same purpose of producing spores.

I'm hoping this wee cluster will produce enough spores to populate my back yard with more of these pretty little fungi for years to come.  This species is widespread in Europe as well as North America and doesn't seem to be all that fussy about the species of dead wood it feeds on.  Happily, it does not harm living wood.  Hmmm.  Maybe I need to go find some more rotting limbs to spread around my yard.

1 comment:

Woody Meristem said...

Down here in northcentral Pennsylvania crimped gill fungus is everywhere, it sometimes seem as if at least a quarter of all fallen branches have some fruiting bodies. Good luck with your project.