Sunday, January 08, 2017

Snow white hair

Growing on a fallen alder, I found a colony of fuzzy white polypore mushrooms.

The largest of the group, under 3 inches across. Before the snow fell and froze solid, slugs had been feasting on the fur.

The underside. This mushroom has large pores. Normally, the spores would develop inside these pores, then fall directly to the ground beneath. Now that the tree is fallen, the spores are trapped inside the mushroom. A few may escape to fall on the trunk.

 A few of the babies. These are all under half an inch wide, and as white as the snow beneath.

These are probably Trametes hirsuta. ("Hirsuta" means "hairy". Good name. They are hairy, although the hair is arranged in stiff peaks, as if someone used too much hair gel.)

These mushrooms grow mostly on dead hardwood, and slowly return it to the soil to nourish the next generation.

Somehow, I'm never tempted to taste a bracket mushroom, or wonder about its edibility (although some are edible, I know), but mushroom guides routinely mention this. On the E-Flora page about T. hirsuta, under the "Edibility" heading, a contributor has commented, "Too tough." Looks about right. Too hairy, besides.

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