What are these, dear readers? They have been growing on a distressed young Red Maple (Acer rubrum) around the corner from my house and I collected some yesterday with the intention of trying them as dyes.
They are in the company of some pretty lichens, as you see. I have been collecting similar “tree ears” from fallen or felled logs – I have even bought big ones from a funky florist shop – but these are the first I have taken from a (barely) living tree. They are quite small. I was wondering if these fungi grew only on trees that were weak and dying or dead? Am I disturbing a delicate balance by collecting them? From the decay grows the next generation of many plants but in a natural evnironment. A “forest floor” is unlikely to develop on a city street.
A recent snow storm was too much for the maple. It was planted a few years ago in a dry, dry summer and several of its newly planted companions succombed within months. This one braved on. So sorry to see it break – by the time I return from the UK it will have been removed, most likely
The funghi grows all over the tree bark, all the way up.
What are the names of the lichens? I have so far stayed away from collecting them so have not yet studied them carefully. It is on my list , though, and I do have Karen Diadick Casselman's book on lichens (see my reference page)
Last pic: Maybe this is the last snow slide this winter? It's in my front yard and my grandson could not resist, of course: