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:

Autumn and fungus

Autumn is starting to show in the forest, with some leaves just turning. I’m seeing so many fungi, of all shapes and colours, and on the forest floor, on tree trunks, stumps and fallen wood… here are just a few of them:

I’ve also been noticing lots of beefsteak fungi, a bracket fungus that’s associated with heart rot in veteran and ancient trees. I’ve been watching some as they grow each week, and write a post about them. Meanwhile, here’s a beautiful beefsteak fungus, quite fluted rather than smooth edged, on a tree that’s already very hollow. It’s growing on an old branch stump, on the side of the trunk.