I need to be clear at the beginning of this blog post I only know the names of a few of the Fungi in the photographs. In the autumn, winter and early spring they are my Wildflowers and Forest sculptures within the beauty of a sleeping landscape. Although I know they live here all year round along the trails it is in late autumn through to early spring that they are the most visible. Growing from fallen and standing Trees, pushing up from the Forest floor, as singles and in clusters they are a welcome sight.
My first year of hiking and posting my blog began in the late autumn after nearly every leaf had fallen. I had yet to photograph my first Wildflower along cool green trails. On a winter hike the day after a light dusting of snow I noticed little splashes of orange along the Dead Chief Trail in Hot Springs National Park (see pic below). On closer inspection I thought they looked like orange blossoms, winter wildflowers. I now know they are called Turkey Tail Fungi and I have found a glorious array of color combinations of these fan like sculptures. Once aware of the beauty of Fungi I began to notice the wonderful variations in color, shape and texture.
If you recognize any of the Fungi below please let me know as I would love to learn what they are. I am still trying to differentiate between ridges, teeth and gills on Fungi, I have much to learn.
Please remember Fungi are a food source for many of our woodland friends and when we take them from protected places like National Parks it is not only a crime but could mean the starvation of those who depend on them for winter survival. In unprotected places please take only your fair share, but don’t strip bare. I have seen several wounded squirrels eating them so it might be medicinal for them as well.
Much Love to ALL!
PS Special Thanks to Fluff Berger for identifying the Phlebia incarnata and leaving a not in the comments section.
These are sensational, Lee. I had no idea there were so many fungi and that so many of them are so beautiful. How did you know the squirrel was wounded? Will it survive? Thanks
Thank You for visiting my blog and leaving this lovely comment. I am always on the lookout for the Fungi now, they change color with rain, snow, sun and humidity. The sweet Squirrel if you look closely has an open puncture which is more evident in other photos in the link above the photo. Often Squirrels in the park are grabbed by dogs that are not on a leash as required by park rules. Even though they escape the teeth marks are visible against the white chest fur. Some survive and others likely do not, I try to keep an eye out for them.
Kindest Thoughts and Wishes,
The pink fungus tentatively named Cinnabar Red polypore…is actually Phlebia incarnata, which typically grows alongside Stereum ostrea (False Turkey Tails), which is also visible in your photo. It has a white underside that looks like veins and wrinkles, while Cinnabar Red polypores usually have a red underside with tiny pores. Fungi are a wonderful way to get to know more about the natural world. Enjoy!
Thank You! I have updated the image information and added a credit for you in my blog.
Kindest Thoughts and Wishes,