nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘bracket fungi

bracket fungi

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On a drive last weekend, we saw this great example of bracket fungi growing on an old maple.

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Bracket fungi belong to a group of fungi called polypores. These produce the characteristic spore-producing bodies called conks. The shelf-shaped or bracket-shaped conks are a reproductive outgrowth of the main fungal body called the mycelium. As with all fungi, the mycelium is mostly unseen since it resides in wood or soil.

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Polypores are a significant part of the forest ecosystem because they are agents of wood decay. These fungi are efficient decomposers of lignin and cellulose.

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On a more fanciful note, the brackets of these fungi always remind me of ‘faerie stairs’, a way to ascend an ancient tree.

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bracket fungi

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in this forest

(staid

practical

grey)

could any form

construe to magic?

~

fairy rings

moths in spectral flight

spider webs, witches brooms

burrows and subterranean

rooms, hollows in wizened

logs, red toadstools

white-spotted, mottled

frogs

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bracket fungi

steps ascending

a branchless tree

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(Previously published October 28, 2011 http://www.nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com )

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 4, 2018 at 7:00 am

(brackets in the birch grove)

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Last week we went for a walk (more like a struggle) through the birch grove at the base of the grey woods (see the ‘map of the grey woods’ under ‘about’).   To get there, we crossed the fern gully, mostly dry this time of year, and entered a mixed wood of birch, maple, spruce and fir, much younger than the mature spruce in the grey woods. 

These trees grow in very wet conditions, and the forest floor is a hummocky, spongy growth of Sphagnum moss and  fern. 

There is no path through this woodland, so the ‘walk’ was an up-and-down, over-and-under kind of trek.  To stay dry, you must take giant steps from hummock to hummock.  To stay upright, you must check your footing and hang on to the young trees.  With all this concentration on moving forward, I tend to miss some of the interesting detail, so I try to use each ‘balancing moment’ as a time to look around and observe the wild life.

One occupant of the birch grove is the bracket fungus.  This is a type of fungus that grows like shelves on both living and dead trees.  The fungus forms thick flat pads on the tree, usually parallel to the ground.  They remind me of steps, a spiral stair to ascend the tree.

The semi-circular body of the bracket fungus is called a conk.    The conks of the bracket fungus growing in our woods are thick, often oddly shaped, and constructed of various cream, tan and brown coloured layers.  The conks are the outwardly visible, reproductive part of the fungus.  The vegetative portion of the fungus grows as an extensive network of threads within the tree.

 

bracket fungi

~

1.

in this forest

staid

practical

grey

could any form

construe to magic?

~

fairy rings

moths in spectral flight

spider webs, witches brooms

burrows and subterranean

rooms, hollows in wizened

logs, red toadstools

white-spotted, mottled

frogs

~

2.

bracket fungi

steps ascend

a branchless tree

~

© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

October 28, 2011 at 7:09 am

a trail through grey woods

with 8 comments

In our grey woods, an old trail follows the top of the slope, between the trees.  It takes constant care to keep it free for walking.  The spruce are old and every winter takes down a new raft of trees.  My husband works at it constantly, cutting a way through the fallen logs and filling the hollows with wood chips.   

When I walk there, I always find something I haven’t noticed before.  Yesterday I made three discoveries:

A maple seedling sprouting in the cut surface of a maple tree felled for firewood…

A pair of bracket fungi on a fallen birch log (notice the shadows of fern leaf on the surface of the fungi)…

 And various other types of fungi, sprung up after the rain…

 

In each case, the discovery was about hope – life from death, new growth from decay.   

The woods have so many lessons to teach… I only need to slow down and look closely to learn.

 

slow walk in the woods

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1.

more to woods

than a path between trees

slow pace

check perspective

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2.

discover texture on trunk 

scar and indentation

detail in the duff upset

by careless feet

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note how light scatters

through pollen and powder

now sifts slantwise, shadow

on brackets of fungi

light from lichen

chandeliers

3.

slow beat and breath

match the stealth of forest, realise

branches gather rain

an hour before they weep

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© Jane Tims 2005

Written by jane tims

September 17, 2011 at 7:02 am

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