The Forest Floor in Early Autumn

Autumn’s answer  to Spring wildflowers is fruiting bodies! They arrive in myriad shapes, sizes and colors, often without warning and, literally, overnight. Aside from being easy on the eyes, many are mycorrhizal. They colonize tree roots, forming a mutually beneficial or symbiotic relationship.

The Spring ephemerals thrive in a narrow window of opportunity, capturing light before it is filtered and blocked by the dense, new foliage of deciduous trees and shrubs. In contrast, Autumn fungi respond to warmth, moisture and organic substrates, independent of light.

Puffballs and coral fungi are favorite groups and they’ve been underfoot on most of my walks. Other notable encounters include the Fairy Cup fungus, American Caesar’s mushroom, Amanita mushrooms, and Chicken of the Woods bracket fungus.

 

Photos by NB Hunter (late September and early October). © All rights reserved.

 

Fun with Fungi – II

I was invited to join a hiking group for a day on the Finger Lakes Trail in Central New York and promised to post some trip highlights. I’m not a regular distance hiker so, with a 5-hour hike ahead of me, I decided to travel light. I regretted that decision about 5 minutes into the adventure. There was a photo opportunity at every bend in the trail, but the forecast for a bright, clear day was dead wrong. It was overcast and misty and I really regretted not having my good macro and a real tripod in my pack.

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Red Eft, land form of the Red-spotted Newt

The group, including the Outdoor Recreation Club from Morrisville State College and the Bullthistle Hiking Club, was interested in all things natural, but the theme of the hike was the overwhelming variety and abundance of fruiting bodies!

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Jelly Fungus

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Coral Fungus (Crown-tipped)

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Coral Fungus (Orange Spindle)

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Mushroom, unidentified

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Chicken-of-the-woods

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Chicken-of-the-woods

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Coral Fungus (Crested)

I’ll finish the post with this image because it was new to me, the color is quite unusual, and — the common name begs to be published!

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Green-headed Jelly Club

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.