Fungi favour orange

The cleared slope was a fairly uniformly well-grazed green. Except for a spot of orange today.

I walked over to see what it was and found a small cluster of coral fungi blooming fleshily all by itself in the middle of nowhere.

A species of Ramaria, it would seem, or else paprika cauliflower cheese made from a rather spindly cauli.

Back home another incongruous splash of orange drew me to the orchard, to the sawn-off base of a self-sown avocado tree who’d had 10 years to prove it could fruit, and didn’t, meanwhile shading my vegie patch.

It was ringed with tough orange frilly fans, while others were elegantly striped, in less garish cream and grey and brown. I think it’s Trametes versicolor.

On top of the stump was a cluster of funny little greenish-grey nubs, like lost teeth. What they are I cannot imagine!

Tree decorations

When a tree dies it becomes something else here: a home, for birds if big enough, and for insects, fungi and lichens.

Some seem more appealing to the latter than others, like this fantastically decorated tree.

It stood out amongst the tree trunks of the forest, even in the mist. And this was on north-western side of the trunk, not the south, as I’ve always been told they prefer.

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Frilly fungi

I never cease to be amazed by the apparently infinite variety of fungi here. I keep discovering ones that I’ve never seen before, like this colony of banded and frilly bonnets in Indian red and brown.

Mostly quite small, about 35mm diameter, they were growing on a dead branch on a live stringybark tree, almost spiralling up its length.

Yes, I’ve looked them up and no, I couldn’t find out just what they are.

I’m hoping one of my website visitors will tell me their name, but I guess the fungi experts keep discovering new ones too.

Bright new day

Cabinbound for a week, the day the rain stopped I went for a walk. After so much greyness, the bush seemed overly bright, the colours heightened like pebbles under water.

Everything was still very wet, but there was nothing drab under this fresh new light. Even the soggy leaf litter was bright red, not brown, as were the trunks of saplings and the splits in fire-blackened bark.

big fungus

In one small area of tussock grass and bracken, bright orange fungi had sprung up. Thick and bold, they ranged in size from a fifty cent coin to over a foot long – that’s my gumbooted foot next to it.

saffron milk cap

Searching my new fungi book (thanks Fred!) and a few fungi web sites, it sounds like I have to go back and cut one to be sure. But they could be Saffron Milk Caps — if they ooze milk.

I’m getting as fascinated by fungi as I am by clouds.

I discovered Gaye, a real fungi-lover, coincidentally in the Hunter, at her great blog.

Tree homes

elkhorn farAs you might expect, given that I live in forest country, I love trees.
elkhorn closeup

On my place I keep planting more where they haven’t managed to regenerate by themselves after the clearing and burning and grazing of years ago.

Mostly I look at the forest as a wall, I suppose—and thus miss the individuality of the trees.

I ought to look up into my treetops more often, for koalas, not seen here since the 2002 fires.

I keep hoping, as I think I heard one a few months ago.

No koalas yet, but other things live in trees, like this beautifully healthy and quite old elkhorn high up in a casuarina.

When they get this big they can be too heavy for the tree or branch, and hence vulnerable to snapping off in a storm.

broken treeEven when a tree is totally destroyed, its trunk broken off and laid low, taken from skydweller to ground hugger, it takes on new life as host. Like this mighty ancient, which blocked the track for some time until a big enough chainsaw came along.

Where possums and birds may have lived in it before, now termites and beetles and fungi are residents.

fungoid colony
This fungus colony has taken shelter in the horizontal overhang created by what was once vertical.

Nothing is wasted in nature.