Monday, February 16, 2015



Mostly Things That Are Not Mushrooms


Life is busy!  If we aren't cleaning up after a snow storm or getting and bringing in firewood, I was doing something to prepare for my very-first-ever-in-my-whole-life gallery show!  WOW!  What an experience.  I'll say a bit more on that at the end of this post.  

I try to be correct in all the information I pass on, but please know I am an amateur and can make mistakes.  Corrections are ALWAYS welcomed!
I wanted to post something that would take our minds off winter - maybe a page with a yellow (sunshine color) theme, or maybe flowers - but I chose fungi.  So many forms of fungi are around all year that the brave folks who venture forth may see some.  These pictures are taken during fair weather times, but you can still find treasures growing from tree trunks or fallen logs during the winter months.

Lichens and liverworts are always with us; just look at rocks and tree trunks.  If you see roundish splotches of a lovely gray-green, it is most probably a lichen, maybe a liverwort.

Liverwort is defined in the Student Dictionary, in simple terms, as "any of a class of flowerless plants related to and resembling the mosses but differing especially in their reproduction and development."

Lichens are similarly defined by the Student Dictionary as " any of numerous plantlike living things made up of an alga and a fungus growing together on a solid surface (as a rock or a tree)."  Lichens are sort of a combination of things - algae and fungi. 

This is a specimen from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA.

 The images below are Reindeer Lichen.  They grow nicely at the shore, in sand, and hold up to the harsh salty winds.  The top two pictures are the same view - one close up and one not as close - the yellow fruiting bodies are from the moss and the lichen fruiting bodies are red, tiny dots.

More info here:

  This picture (below) shows a Reindeer Lichen and the red fruiting bodies.  These fruiting bodies, just like moss fruiting bodies, distribute the spores that will become new Reindeer lichens.

 This is what Reindeer Lichen looks like when view from above.

 Old Man's Beard is an interesting lichen.  This one was growing on a pine tree branch.  More info for you here:

Bracket fungi (also called plate or shelf fungi) grow inside dead and dying trees.  We see the fruiting bodies that show up on the outside; they spread the spores that begin new generations.  These are called polypores - they have tubes, instead of gulls, for dispersing their spores.   Many are very tough and woody, and some last for years while others last only for a short time.

More info here:

The photos above show a family of "Hen In The Woods".  The picture directly above this caption has not only this year's new fruiting bodies but the old fruiting bodies now dried and useless from a reproductive point of view.  Look to the left at the base of the tree and you'll see the brown, dried fungi.

Going once again to the student dictionary for a simple definition of Bracket Fungi, I find this - "a fungus that forms shelf-like fruiting bodies."  They are sometimes collected and used as knick knack shelves, at least the more woody one that dry with no problems. 

 Shelf/bracket fungi are named for their semi-circular growth more than any genetic classification so they contain many types of fungi.

Laetiporus sulphureus
Turkey Tail Bracket Fungi are named for their rings of different colors and are quite striking in their beauty and diversity.  I'm showing a number of examples below, but there are so many more!

Read up on them here:

The beautiful fungi shown below are, actually, quite common in our woods and grow to a pretty large size.  They are called Dryad’s Saddle Bracket Fungi - Polyporus Squamosus

More info here:

These next photos are of different types of bracket fungi.

This pretty pinkish fungi looks like a Turkey Tail type to me but I didn't pick any or look underneath - it could be a mushroom.

Slime molds are an amazing and intriguing life form - not quite plant, not quite animal, not quite fungus. They can communicate with scent, signaling other slim mold entities where there is food or it's time to come together and make babies.  They look different at different stages of their complex lives and sometimes could be mistaken for mushrooms.  Sometimes they look like insect of fish eggs and sometimes they can look like a brush.  Fruiting bodies, much like those of moss or lichens, will disperse the spores.

The definition of slime mold would be "any of a group of organisms that reproduce by spores and can live either as single cells resembling amoebas or in groups as a mass of protoplasm resembling fungi".  Note that these strange things are a mix of animal and fungi.

Read more here.  It is an amazing and intriguing plant/critter. I LOVE THESE THINGS!

This is only a small sampling to give you a start on what to look for.

There are a number of fungi, often unrelated in scientific terms, that come under the common category of "crust fungus".  They look like scabs, kind of, or a coating of paint or a burned surface for example.  These, too, are common as a generalized category and I haven't done much research on them yet.  They are interesting and strange fungi.

Read more here:

A gallery show - what a thrill!  It takes much more work to get ready then I imagined, and tons of time.  In the end it's a marvelous experience and it left me feeling very happy.  The work will hang for three weeks. the evening of the opening was on Friday the 13th (February 2015) - a lucky day:>)  The day before was snowy and the day after was snowy; Friday was sunny and the roads were miraculously clear.  The temperatures were barely out of the single digits (Fahrenheit) and the wind was bitter, constant, and just plain nasty.  I didn't expect many people would venture out; I would probably have stayed home if it wasn't my show.  The hours were 7 to 9 PM, and I bought wine, soda, cheese, fruit, crackers, and soda.  Since Saturday was Valentine's Day, I decided to go with the Valentine's Day accessories - nothing but class, you understand - LOL.  Thank you, Dollar Store.  I did not skimp on the food and drink, and the wine was suggested by a friend who actually knows something about wine.  Turns out everyone loved those choices.

Six o'clock rolled around and a couple people arrived, rosy from the wind and temps, and eager to sample the food and drink.  They loved my work!  I was so happy!

Then a few more people came in, then a few more, and about five of the artists that are in the gallery came by and stayed - wonderful support for me:>)  My neighbor and her youngest daughter (a budding artist) showed up and they liked the work.  It was all good, all night!  There were even a couple sales.  It's a rewarding experience, when all is said and done, to have people love your work:>)  I admit it was scary to think about showing it to strangers.

I am not a salesperson and do not do marketing; I take pictures of nature and love doing it.  This is what I want to do - not marketing.  Selling is good - it pays for me to go take pictures:>)

This is a one-person show and one whole wall and the left wall of the entry hall are all my work.  There are other things scattered about, but the gallery owner, JoAnne, does a beautiful job hanging shows and advertising (YAY!).  She is also a fierce supporter of the arts and her framing business is well-established and has been there for Quakertown residents (and others) for many years.  The gallery isn't yet a year old and the word is rapidly getting around that it is a place to see:>)

I want to give her a HUGE thank you.  This is her Facebook page.

This picture has three views of the gallery show that opened Friday (Friday the 13th!)  Even with the drastic cold and cutting winds, people actually came out and I made a coupe sales.  The excitement of showing work to strangers and waiting to hear what they say is HIGH STRESS!  All went so well - I was happy.  The last picture in this compilation is my portable garage.  I got sick of cleaning off the car just about every day, so I went and bought a tarp, locked it down with four bungie cords, and voila!  Instant garage!  We get snow but nothing like my poor brother in the Boston, Massachusetts, USA area.  This is a record-setting year for them at over seven feet of snow.  More to come, too.  We have nuisance snow here.

I want to thank you, my readers, too.  I love doing the blog but if people didn't come by to read it there would be no point.  You make it worthwhile for me:>)

Until next post - be well and enjoy life!