Field of Science

Fungus amongus - pays to pay attention

Fall is an excellent time for fungi. So while checking on the condition of this blue spruce (no improvement; no surprise), this handsome orange-brown bracket fungus presented itself. First reaction, the quite familiar "turkey tail" bracket fungus (some species of Trametes)(gray-brown), which had been growing on this particular tree stump.  The rich color was attributed to recent growth, i.e., fresh. Ah, then you notice the "growth" rings seem rather pronounced, and you know how it is with IDs, sometimes it's best to check things.  And, wow, instead of the tiny pores that were expected, there was a mini-labyrinth of ridges, so ID is now not turkey tail. Some genera in this group have been renamed, and TPP's fungal taxonomy is way out of date, so this bracket fungus is what TPP would call Lenzites. Any name updates?  The only species TPP knows is L. betulina. This is pretty common in the upper midwest, but maybe not so further south and west. The last image shows the underside of the two, the tiny pores of the turkey tail (typical of polypores) are just visible. And this how the spruce gets recycled.

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