Another Look at the Staggerbush Fungi

Add another plant species to the list, some Swamp Sunflowers are out in bloom.  Big beautiful flowers that have really thin opposite leaves.

Helianthus angustifolius 1

But what really grabbed my attention was the fungi starting to grow on the leaves of the Staggerbush.  Back in April, I posted a picture of what I thought was a gall on a Staggerbush leaf.

Gall Wasp 2

Fortunately,  Rick Walker spotted my blunder and thus I learned that it is actually a fungus causing the growth.

The pathogen belongs to the Exobasidiaceae, a family which consists of 5 genera and 56 species. The species have a wide distribution, especially in temperate parts of the world.  They grow on the leaves of plants, especially those in the Ericaceae (Heath family).  Generally one species of the fungi is associated with on species of plant which may be why they show up on the Staggerbush and not on Fetterbush.

If you look close you can see the little thread-like micorrhiza on the surface.  So it was with some interest that I spotted this fungus starting to grow on the leaves of another Staggerbush.  You can see the leaf with the fungi starting to surround it.

Staggerbush Fungi 7

The threads of the micorrhiza remind me of a spider starting to weave a web.

Staggerbush Fungi 6

This is the view from the other side of the leaf.

Staggerbush Fungi 5

It’s always interesting to see some of the weird and interesting shapes we can find in trees.  I’m amazed that this oak could survive the damage it sustained when the limb broke away.

Oak 2

Wax Myrtle Fruit and Other Things That Caught My Eye

I noticed that a stalk of the Cinnamon Fern had taken a sharp turn upward.  Had someone bent it and the plant kept growing or had the fern suddenly decided to grow vertically rather than horizontally?

Cinnamon Fern

Fruit is starting to appear on the Wax Myrtle branches

Wax Myrtle 1

 

A closer look at the fruit clearly shows the waxy covering

Wax Myrtle  2

 

Spotted some Feay’s Palafox and took a shot from a different perspective.

Feay's Palafox

 

As I walked down the side trail I encountered a tree just covered with Turkey Tails.  The Tails at the base of the tree were wide and large.

Turkey Tails 1

 

The tails further up the trunk were smaller and thinner.

Turkey Tails 2

 

This part of the trail has a nice inviting bench.  So I rested my camera bag and took a shot.

Trail 10

A Fungus Among Us

As I wander the Trail I always look to see what is flowering and, near one of the wooden walkways, I noticed that the Climbing Hempvine is starting to open up.  It’s in the Aster or Daisy family and its flowers are all disk flowers just like Feay’s Palafox.

Climbing Hempvine

 

A Hog Plum had dropped it’s colorful fruit on the trail.   I’m surprised that it hasn’t been gobbled up by an animal or bird.

Hog Plum Fruit

 

The weather has been wet so fungi are appearing.  I spotted this one near a tree root which crossed the Trail.

 Boletus 1

 

When I turned the mushroom over I saw the sponge layer of tubes which meant that it was some species of Boletes.

 Boletus 2

 

I broke off a little piece at the edge to give a little picture of the tubes where the spores are produced.

 Boletus 3

 

Further down the trail I came on an old mushroom that was covered with a cottony mold.  Everything is the host of another organism.

 Cotton Mold

 

 That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.

I Like Lichens

The Trail contains a never ending variety of lichens.  Look down and you see Raindeer Moss.  If it hasn’t rained in awhile the little balls contract.  Pour some water on them and they will start to puff out.  This type of lichen is a good indicator air pollution so it’s always nice to see them out in force.

Lichen 6

Look up and you will see some light green stringy lichens that hand from the tree like Spanish moss

Light green stringy lichen 5

This is clearly worth a closer look.  If you look really close you will see some cup-shaped lichens clinging to the branch.

Light green stringy lichen 1

And still another lichen with its fuzzy tentacles reaching out.

Light green stringy lichen 4

Here is a branch covered with lichens and supporting a Cardinal Airplant.  It amazed me that such a small a branch could provide so much support.

Cardinal Airplant 2

That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.

Orchids and Puff Balls

The Trail is constantly providing new and interesting plants.  Last week a Snake-mouth Orchid of Rose pogonia popped up.

Pogonia ophioglossoides 2

 

I keep looking up at the branch of one of the Oak trees because I found the leaves of a Florida Butterfly Orchid.  It usually flowers in June or July but can flower anytime and I want capture the image when it does.  For now, all I can show you are the long drooping leaves and the whitish pseudobulb at the base.

Encyclia tampensis

 

Lately, I’ve gotten really interested in mushrooms – photographing and identifying them, not eating them.  So when I spotted this one I stopped to take the shot.

Rhopalogaster transverarium 1a

 

It is thick-skinned puff ball that doesn’t have a common name.  Unfortunately, the scientific name (Rhopalogaster transverarium) doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.   And it’s not all that photogenic on the inside. 

Rhopalogaster transverarium 1c

 

This fungi is there to handle decaying organic material in the pine-oak woods

That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.

The Side Loop

There is a little side loop which contains a wonderful mix of interesting plants and fungi.  Southern Needleleafs airplants adorn the Oaks –

Southern Needleleaf and Spanish Moss 1

A Cardnal Airplant rests on a vine –

Cardinal Airplant

But don’t just look up – look down and see the Turkey Tails adorning the trunks of the Dahoon –

Turkey Tails 1c

A Turkey Tail and Southern Needleleaf living side by side –

Turkey Tails 1b

Look a little more and you will find Snow Fungus –

Snow Fungus 1b

Look down on the ground by the bench and you will see a mat of little green leaves –

Mitchella repens 1

It is Twinberry or Partridgeberry which is a member of the Coffee Family.  It produces pairs of dark red buds which become little white flowers 

Mitchella repens 2

Mitchella repens 3

That’s all for now – but standby for future postings.

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