Thursday, April 09, 2009

There's always more to be seen.

Below the birds singing at their carpentry tasks in the treetops, there's the understory. And below the understory ... in Ladner Harbour in the springtime, there's mostly mud and dead grass. And a few mossy logs.

(On the beach, I usually carry a folded piece of heavy plastic to kneel on and stay dry. I didn't have it with me at the park. Well, as the farmer used to say, "It was clean mud." Brushed right off, once it was dry. Most of it, anyhow. Note to self: put that plastic in the jacket pocket and leave it there!)

This short length of log was host to a bright clump of Red Roof*, or Fire, moss:

Ceratodon purpureus

*At least, I think it's Red Roof; it matches the photo and write-up in my book (Plants of Coastal British Columbia, Pojar & MacKinnon). It is the most common moss in the world, and grows anywhere from the Antarctic to city sidewalks. Young sporophytes (the tall fruiting bodies), have reddish stalks when they're young, turning purple as they age; the mature capsules on top bend over and become ribbed. So this is a young moss clump.

The greyish growth at the end of the log is a cladonia:

A pixie cup cladonia

They look like bent nails from a demolition project.

More cladonia, possibly a different variety, and a different moss.

At the far tip of the spit, on an dead cottonwood, still standing, we found these mushrooms:

Big, fist-sized 'shrooms, stemless.

The surface cracks as they age, so they look like freshly-baked meringues.

Forcing their way out from the inside of the trunk, breaking that thick bark. The inside of the tree is probably a mass of fungal threads.

The gills, from the underside.

Hugh, at the other end of the park, found some similar ones. He thought they might be oyster mushrooms. Maybe his were; I don't think these are. They didn't quite match any of the photos I found. I didn't pick one to take a spore print because they were too beautiful to disturb.

Higher up on the same tree, these smaller, stemmed mushrooms poked out of a branch scar:

Big tough tree, bested by tender little morsels. The battle is not always to the strong.



  1. I think the large mushrooms are the same species I saw. I'm not certain of my identification. I tried googling "mushrooms on cottonwood," and similar combinations, to no avail. My mushroom books weren't helpful either.

  2. There are so many species of mushrooms, and the specific characteristics are so difficult to get at that it's a wonder we even get close, sometimes, to an ID.


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