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.