Friday, August 7, 2015

"Seeing a Forest in the Trees"...

I found this row of fungi growing from an old, fallen tree. The shape of the fungi surprisingly mimic the shape of trees with trunks and branches. The bright yellow is mesmerizing.

This fungus is known as "Witches' Butter" (Tremellaceae, Tremella mesenterica), also known as yellow brain, golden jelly fungus, or yellow trembler. It grows on dead deciduous wood year-round. The fruit body has an irregular shape, and usually breaks through the bark of dead branches. It is actually a parasite on other fungi. The yellow jellylike masses create and disperse spores, which float away to begin more "witches' butter" elsewhere.

According to Eastern European legend, when Witch’s butter appears on the gate or door of one’s home that home (and the family) had been targeted by the spell of a witch. The only remedy to remove the evil spell was to pierce the jelly fungus with something sharp 'until it died'. This would likely have little effect, as the fungus is capable of rehydration during moist weather conditions, which would then restore the spell.

Warning: Never eat any mushroom unless you're 100 percent sure of the identification. People are poisoned every year by eating wild mushrooms.

Size: approx. 1" tall.
Photo # KS6_0021-25b. June, 2014.
(c) Kelly Shipp Photography.


Unknown said...

Such an interesting story behind this wonderful image, Kelly.

Kelly Shipp said...

Thanks Lisa