Saturday, January 9, 2016

Summer At Fort Yargo State Park: Shelter A To The Old Fort, September 9th, 2015 (Part 1)

September 9th. I started to walk again at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. One of my favorite walks is from the Group Shelter A to the Old Fort and back.This is a rewarding walk for viewing wildflowers and I’ve been trying to walk it weekly and document the wildflowers I see.

The route, which I described here, here, and here. 

The early spring wildflowers have finished blooming; it’s time to watch the developing fruit. Summer wildflowers were still blooming but it was time to turn attention to the fungi in the woods. I found more mushrooms on this walk and, at a time when I thought there would be fewer interesting observations, I found that there were even more.

My first spotting was on the trail down to the lake. These colorful fungi are False Turkey Tails (Stereum ostrea). Often mistaken for the true Turkey Tails, they do look different when you get used to looking at them. The litmus test to identify these fungi is to look at the underside of the brackets; their undersides are smooth with no evidence of pores.

On a nearby log, I found a jelly fungus. This almost certainly is Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica). Witch’s Butter is usually bright yellow. I have found, however, in following an individual Witch’s Butter that the color fades with repetitive rounds of desiccation and re-hydration.

My next stop was at the logs in the young open woods beyond the pine forest. The longest log was hosting at least two different colonies of small bracket fungi.

Brackets in the colony furthest from the trail had concentric zones of tans and browns with a lilac brown margins that is characteristic of this fungus although inexperienced observers might call them Turkey Tails. These brackets have…

pores on their undersides that are not circular like the pores on Turkey Tails but have a somewhat ‘zig-zag’ appearance when young and break down to have a tooth-like appearance as they age. These are called Violet=toothed Polypore (Trichaptum biforme). The name ‘biforme’ refers to the two appearances – poroid or tooth-like – of the pore surface. Reference photos show young brackets with purple undersides. I’ve rarely found young specimens with ‘intense’ purple color; most have been quite pale with only a hint of purple color, if any.

In the foreground, the Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor) brackets had increased from the single ‘rosette’ I’d seen a couple of weeks previously had grown to a small forest.

Yet another fungus on another section of the same log. These brackets are the Gilled Polypore (Lenzites betulina); another fungus that may be mistaken for a Turkey Tail if you don’t examine the underside of the bracket.

Gilled Polypores have gills on their undersides.

A little further along the trail the Small Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus microcephalus) plants were still blooming.

Finally… The seed capsules on the Strawberry Bush (Euonymus americanus) had opened to reveal the bright orange fruit.

I stopped at the small rosettes of brackets on an old oak log that I had identified as Daedaleopsis septrionalis. The previous week, they were an almost even brown color with a light margin. Now they had concentric zones of tans and browns, quite different from the previous week. The rosettes were sitting close to the surface of the log and it would have been difficult to view the undersides without damaging the brackets. I’m going to have to wait until next year to try to look at the underside of these brackets more closely.

A Leopard Slug (Limas maximus) was quietly nibbling on the margin of one of the brackets. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about disturbing these brackets if they’re being eaten by the locals.

As I emerged into the open area under the power lines I found a patch of Forked Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum) in bloom. Although growing in the open, these plants were shaded for most of the day.

Some small plants of Anisescented Goldenrod (Solidago odora) were beginning to bloom at the edge of the open area. 
(To be continued…) 

- Mushroom Expert. Kuo M. (2008, December): Stereum ostrea 
- Messiah College: Trichaptum biforme 
- Mushroom Expert. Kuo, M. (2005 March). Trametes versicolor. The turkey tail. 
- Messiah College: Lenzites betulina 
- Go Botany: Helianthus microcephalus 
- Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Euonymus americanus 
- Messiah College: Daedaleopsis septrionalis 
- Fairfax County Public Schools: Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) 
- Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Forked Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum) 
- Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Anisescented Goldenrod (Solidago odora)* 
*Identified by friends on the Facebook group Plant Identification 

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