Fundamentals of Fungi: Discovery

Yes, I know you will probably tell me that most of this is lichen, not fungi, but I kinda lump them in the same general category. Otherwise, you’d end up with a series titled, “Likin’ the Lichen,” and then you would want to smack me, which would be uncomfortable for us all.

I think you’ve identified these lovely specimens before, or at least something similar to them, but these look just different enough that I’m not sure if they’re the blue-gray beauties in their prime or something altogether different.

Image shows a moss-covered log with charcoal gray growths with scalloped edges.
Mystery fungi I

There will be real fungi later, too!

These beauties were growing happily down by the sea at Discovery Park. I love their textures and shapes. I love their curviness, and the inverted topography of their interior structures. And I like the little orange thingies on their edges.

Image is a detail of the lichen or fungi, showing its textures.
Mystery fungi II

The sheer numbers of things that grow on other things here staggers me. In Arizona, you’d sometimes see a smidgeon of moss, or a fragment of lichen. If you were super-duper lucky, you’d find mistletoe. And there were sometimes other parasitic plants. But you didn’t have these huge colonies of things.

Image shows a wider view of the moss and fungi/lichen, showing how it's completely covered the trunk of this tree.
Mystery fungi III

I mean, that’s some really luxuriant growth right there. And it’s not unusual for around here. Even in this area, which isn’t technically a temperate rainforest, you’ll be bopping through the woods and suddenly come across places where the trees are just dripping with epiphytes. A tree falls down, and about five minutes later it’s covered with wood mushrooms and other things. Standing trees are often hosting vigorous colonies of various mosses, fungi, lichens, and similar. It’s one of the most promiscuous places I’ve ever lived.

Image shows a downed log with wood mushrooms and huge patches of a bright-orange growth.
Mystery fungi IV

It’s a beautiful illustration of the principle that water + warms = ZOMG SO MUCH LIFE! I won’t be surprised if we come across planets in other solar systems that are just as coated in the stuff as ours is.

Image shows the end of the log with a close-up view of the wood shrooms.
Mystery fungi V

Sometimes, I truly do miss Arizona. Not the politics, mind you – I can’t stand the right-wing fanatics who’ve taken over. I wouldn’t ever go back to live unless some liberal faction ends up taking over and the conservative bigots run away to Texas in a huff (sorry, Texas!). But I do miss being able to see the ground without so many damned plants in the way. I love all these interesting biological things, but not as much as I love rocks. Sometimes this is a problem.

Image is another close-up of the orange growth and wood mushrooms.
Mystery fungi VI

But then the lichen and fungi shows up with these wild beautiful colors, and things cover nearly everything in a huge variety of beautiful blooms, and I find myself forgiving the biology for getting in the way of my geology. It’s all so lovely!

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Fundamentals of Fungi: Discovery
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5 thoughts on “Fundamentals of Fungi: Discovery

  1. rq
    1

    They do look like a fresher version.
    And honestly? I wouldn’t smack you for ‘Likin’ the Lichen’. I might stop reading your blog, but I wouldn’t smack you.
    I’M KIDDING.
    Just don’t misspell it to ‘Lickin’ the Lichen’, that might end badly for readers. And you.

  2. 4

    and the conservative bigots run away to Texas in a huff (sorry, Texas!).

    And if they can’t go away in a huff, maybe they can go in a minute and a huff. (Apologies to Groucho Marx.)

  3. 5

    The lichen looks like a species of Peltigera, possibly P. collina, Tree Pelt Lichen. As to the fungus, I don’t have a clue. I’ll see if I can find something.

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