Beefsteak fungus

I’ve been noticing a lot of beefsteak fungus in the forest recently, and thought it would be interesting to show some photos. Normally in books there’s one photo of a typical beefsteak fungus, but they do vary, and they change over time as well. They’re typically associated with heat rot in ancient trees, so Sherwood is a good place to see them at this time of year. Actually the fungus is present all year round – what we’d call the fungus is the fruiting body, like an apple is the fruit of an apple tree. For the rest of the year, the fungus is doing its thing inside the trunk or branches.

Sometimes the bracket fungi appear low down, at the base of the tree, and sometimes higher on the trunk, or in the exposed part of a hollowing branch. Sometimes they’re in more than one place:

Most often, they’re a fan shaped bracket, but they’re also sometimes like little bulges with droplets on:

I’ve been photographing some over several weeks, watching how they grow. Here’s one that’s mid-way up an oak tree’s trunk, seen each week over a month:

Here’s another, at the base of a tree. I didn’t see it when it first appeared, but it has multiple brackets and it’s interesting to see how it has grown. Interesting also, that someone else noticed it, and cut the fungus off… ah well, it’s perhaps more interesting, as you can see the cross section of the fungus: