Earth Eggs and Brackets

The last of my fungi photos—and a special Halloween collection. So to begin . . . but it has to be:

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Some kindly person had knocked this fly agaric onto its side revealing the remains of the earth-egg from which it was born

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Finding a perfect fly agaric is nigh impossible, since so much of our wildlife enjoy a swift nibble.

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I liked the ‘baby’ in the background of this. Though its tattered veil is still quite dense, reflecting even the slightest light (which doesn’t make for photographic clarity)

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Another quite easily identified fungus is this parasol, though which particular parasol . . . ? Probably belongs to the Elfin Queen!

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This seems to be of the same family: it has the same splatter of tattered remnants of veil upon it. But I’d stake neither money nor life upon it

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Another earth-egg? If so it’s been cooked to a sunny-yellow . . . and part-eaten

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The giant puffball. And now you can see why I call them ‘earth-eggs’. But as it ages this will begin to look more like a loaf straight from the oven, all cracked and a ‘baked’ golden-brown. This is the largest specimen I’ve ever seen, its diameter ca 30 cm. It looked like the earth had developed a carbuncle!

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A common earthball. And while it might look like someone has lost a sesame-seeded bread-roll, it is poisonous.

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These are the best specimens I’ve found this autumn (and I have found many over the past few weeks): the common puffball.

Ground-growing fungi aren’t the easiest to see or to shoot. Wet knees, strained back, stings from nettles, scratches from brambles . . . oh, the woes of the fungi photographer! Easier by far are the bracket fungi, at least to shoot if not to identify. Moreover, they’re found all year round. I’ve tried to include some of the more colourful specimens in this collection.

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I’m not sure its official name but I’m calling it the honey polypore. Notice the coral-red cap growing beneath it.

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I was attracted by the colour of these polypore fungi. In the autumnal sunlight they looked positively psychedelic. And then clouds hid the sun, and I’d not yet taken the photo.

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Possibly the same species. Possible another. No, it’s not the same fallen log.

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I was surprised to find nothing approaching this in my field guide. Yet it’s very distinctive. Like a liver, even staining the adjacent remains of this beech tree.

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Another bracket that looks like liver . . . or rather like dried clots of blood. Very distinctive, yet again not in my field guide. Note to self: invest in a better field guide before next fungi-shoot season.

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This is possibly the same species of bracket, but it’s not the same tree. This tree still stands, still alive despite its infestation of tiny honey-type fungi. The previous was on a fallen log.

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Is it hen-of-the-woods? Or is it a close relative? It’s classed as a bracket despite it grows out of the earth. It could be a rarity, imported in the early C19th along with the ‘specimen’ trees that now make up Felbrigg Hall woods.

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The photo was taken way back in the summer. I remember the day well. I walked from Hellingtion to Surlingham and Bramerton, and had lunch by the river. Wonderful weather. The best of memories to take in to the winter.

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I wasn’t going to include this photo, not being happy with the focus. Yet the colours! I couldn’t not use it.

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Although a bracket, these are very different to the previous. Though I didn’t confirm it by touching, these seem to be part of the jelly-fungus family

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And I thought I knew exactly what this one was . . . until I looked in that defective field guide. It gives me a choice of three.

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Possibly belonging to the same family as that above, but almost certainly a different species. It’s not only a matter of colour (though that can be due to age and maturity); this one seems to have a longer, more defined stem than the previous.

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Birch brackets? Yet the birch is host to several different bracket species. Which one is this?

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And this?

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And this?

And finally, something frilly . . .

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Are these brackets only ‘frilly’ because they’re in a state of deterioration? Grown by a road-side, they have collected a dusting of cobweb and grit

I began photographing fungi earlier this year because . . . well, they were there with their interesting colours and forms. Then as summer slithered into autumn there appeared overnight these up-croppings of eggs, cups, caps, bonnets, plates and muffins. Transient, like flowers, I felt compelled to capture them. I thought with my pocket field guide I’d be able to identify them. These past four posts have shown me otherwise.

Obviously, I need a much better field guide. Mine, at best, is lacking in species. Though I have recently discovered an on-line guide combining inclusion of species with depth of description I find its lack of a key most hampering. So, now I need to familiarise myself with the main defining factors of fungi families—then I’ll be able to use said on-line guide. So it’s as well that winter, with its cold and wet weather, will soon put a stop my walks. For then I’ll have the time to make a start on this fungi-familiarisation programme. And who knows, next year I might be able to name 25% of those I find. Instead of a meagre 5%.

 

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About crimsonprose

After years as a multi-colour octopus in entertainment, now chilling and writing
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29 Responses to Earth Eggs and Brackets

  1. Brian Bixby says:

    There’s still a hint of the psychedelic colours in the picture, notwithstanding the loss of direct sunshine.

    • crimsonprose says:

      Um, which picture? Here are many!

      • Brian Bixby says:

        The one that specifically refers to psychedelic colors in its caption.

      • crimsonprose says:

        Yea. Got it. That was me being precocious with my fingers!

      • Brian Bixby says:

        And me likewise, I was processing all the comments on your blog, on the Mitchell post, and on the Orkney post in order without looking ahead. Good conversational start to the morning, though. 🙂

      • crimsonprose says:

        Except I’m now enjoying my postprandial coffee

      • crimsonprose says:

        The clocks have gone back. We in the UK are again functioning on GMT. It’s light again in the morning. But dark too early of an afternoon. Cosy, though, curtains drawn, low-level lighting, heating on, all wonderfully warm . . . till the electric bill again comes in!

      • Brian Bixby says:

        While we’re still on DST; can’t have the rugrats out too long in the dark on Halloween. (Yes, that point came up in the Congressional debate on the subject of DST.)

      • crimsonprose says:

        No! I don’t believe it. But with us it was just for 2 nights, cos come 5th November all must be prematurely dark so those same rugrats can oh and ah at the firework . . . and be told how this chap named Guy Fawkes had his balls cut off and sewn into his mouth before having his skin flenced off him before being burned alive on a high pile of wood. And all because he got caught stacking gunpowder beneath the king’s seat. You note nothing’s ever said about what a certain band of courtiers did to a previous king’s seat. Something involving a red hot poker. Oh, good morning, by the way.

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Over here, Guy Fawkes gets celebrated in a small way, thanks to the anarchistic take of “V For Vendetta.”

      • crimsonprose says:

        Apart from remaining as a warning to traitors (aka terrorists), the whole fireworks and bonfire thing is a folk-remnant not only allowed but initially enforced by the ‘Puritan’ church. So those of us who hold such folk traditions dear, do not complain of the later, political, connotations. Though it must be said, even in my lifetime, those fireworks have caused so many deaths and hideous injuries that there is now a lobby to restrict their use to organised displays only. At which everyone cries out, ‘No!’ And the injuries, the horror, the scarring continue. You might guess I know of (at least 3) people who’ve been scarred for life, and one–no, 2– who died. Gosh, aren’t I in a morbid mood. And yet between replying to your comments I’m writing quite a comedic part of the next story in the Asaric Tales.

      • Brian Bixby says:

        I’ve been multi-tasking across three posts (AWT, Mitchell, and Vikings) myself, and now need to go back and see all the comments to see if I’ve turned Mitchell into a wyrm or married Calpurnia off to a hapless Viking prince.

        Similar lobbying here over 4th of July fireworks, which has yielded state-by-state restrictions, though with a great deal of hypocrisy: New Hampshire, for example, will sell you fireworks so long as you agree to take them out of state!

      • crimsonprose says:

        Ludicrous, of course . . . not forgetting the Latin origin of that word. But what’s this, you’re worried you may have married Calpurnia off to a hapless Viking. Hapless? But said Viking might be more than happy to ‘wrestle’ with cantankerous Calpurnia. Wasn’t wrestling their favourite sport? Well, I imagine so, since it was Iceland’s national sport. 🙂

      • Brian Bixby says:

        I have a feeling I’ve just contributed a new image for CP’s fantasy life. 😉

      • crimsonprose says:

        And now you have me grinning. But I’ll only accept a Viking if he happens to be Gudrum-king. After all, I’ve so many other strands in my ancestry, I must also be descended from the Vikings, or at least the Danes. It’s just off-hand I can’t think of a name.

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Date a viking! Let us research the sagas for you and come up with your perfect mate! Do you want action, romance, animal sacrifices at the dinner table, bad dinner guests being run through with a sword at their seats, witches turning your husband into a vengeful ghost, and more! We have them all!

      • crimsonprose says:

        Aye, I’ve read the sagas too. What about the one where fair damsel rids herself of unwanted suitors by turning them one against the other? Or perhaps where she has them gather together for a feast . . . and then burns the hall down, with them inside it. Of course, we could move to the Valkyries: the one who made her suitors leap a high ring of fire to reach her. I think were I to date a Viking he must first prove himself: his courage, his wisdom, his cunning, his virility (of course), his ‘breeding’; his Runic understanding . . . without actually being a devotee of Odin, for who wants a man who spends have his life hung upside down. Okay, that’ll do for starters. Let’s see who you can come up with.

      • Brian Bixby says:

        Sounds like you want Egil Skallagrimsson; best check out current treatments for Paget’s Disease.

      • crimsonprose says:

        A poet, if my memory serves. But give me a few minutes (or more) to check him out–and this Paget’s Disease. Why is that ringing bells?

      • crimsonprose says:

        Yea, I’d already found wiki’s version, plus another. And I can see how he’d answer the requirement of being a devotee of Odin. But it’s his wrong head ‘swollen’, or rather his bone thickened. Not to mention he sounds an egotistical chap, far worse than the average writer (and let’s face it, we’re slightly that way.) Overall, I’d say this Egil has more recently reincarnated as one or another heavy-rock, heavy metal, guitar-thrashing, hard-playing hotel-room trashing egotistical superstar. I name no names. Just take your pick. No, the chap isn’t for me. I told you, I’m off the male species. And don’t try offering me a female. They’re even more trying.

      • crimsonprose says:

        Thanks, Brian, I can always rely upon you to fetch me a laugh.

      • crimsonprose says:

        Though thinking more on that: I’m not sure Calpurnia would be so happy. After three woebegone husbands she has now declared herself a man-free zone.

    • crimsonprose says:

      Okay, I found the one. Dear-o-dear, I couldn’t remember my captions! Yea, but I really must discover the names of some. At least in time for next year’s crop.

  2. Judy says:

    Oh I like fungus among us! 🙂 Will have to get out into the deep dank dark of the swamp and source out some texture soon!! Can just smell the rich earthyness already!!

    • crimsonprose says:

      Yea. It is an enchanting time of year, on all counts. And I have loads of fungi photos not yet used. I’m thinking of giving the best of the remainder the, um, ‘altered image’ look. So watch out for that. It could be colourful.

  3. Judy says:

    Well reading of the rigors of courting the maiden recited above. Just think the only test the Princess had to pass was being sensitive enough to be bruised by a pea beneath the stack of mattresses she slept upon.

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