Fungi May Safely Graze

The title is a reference to a J.S. Bach cantata, Sheep May Safely Graze. I didn’t see any sheep yesterday, but I did encounter a flock of newly-emerged Turkey-tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) contentedly grazing on the ligneous tissue of a fallen river birch branch.

The recent rains have brought forth quite a few wood-eating mushrooms. There isn’t much time left before the really cold weather arrives, so they are making the best of this late Indian Summer period, chomping down on dead wood and doing their bit to produce humus.

I was out on my delivery route and had pulled up to a favorite secluded dell. I was walking around, seeing what was new, and happened upon this scene of mycelial decay, my favorite kind! The low slanting rays of autumnal sunlight were just right, and I marveled at my luck — the right place at the right time once again!

Here’s an overall view, the tans and oranges of the mushroom blades contrasting with the pale hues of the curly bark of the birch:

A closer look:

This crop amused me; an instance of fungal jubilation, as if the eyeless creature was shouting to the sky gods: “Love this! More rain, please!”

On a nearby log another colony of Trametes had done its thing and dried up. The stiff and leathery blades of the polypores were rimmed with a delicate shade of lilac, a color which gladdened my heart:

This encounter with representatives of another kingdom took all of about two minutes; before long I was back on the road again, contemplating the encounter, glad that my camera batteries had been charged!




Filed under Natural History, Photos, Quincy

7 responses to “Fungi May Safely Graze

  1. bev

    Your post provides a nice fungi fix for someone hanging out in the southwest where the only fungi I seem to see is a black kind that may be a type of slime mold that grows on cane cholla. Love that little Trametes shouting in happiness!

  2. It’s funny — the happy little Trametes (it’s only about 1/8″ across) only became evident to me after I got home and zoomed in on the shot on the computer.

    More fungi to come, Bev! And other stuff, of course.

  3. Virginia

    The fungi are peaceful as sheep immortalized in the beautiful Bach composition from which you paraphrased your title. Thanks for the clear pictures.

  4. Thanks, Virginia and Darrell! I’m off to Youtube — I haven’t heard the Bach piece for a while…

  5. Joan

    What a terrific video! Thanks Darrell and Virgina. This piece seems to be a favorite. Many Sheep videos…this one a piano version.

    Here’s one with an exquisite vocalist

  6. Darrell

    Joan, thanks for the “Safe Sheep”, esp the original instrument version.

    Larry, I have some original instrument solos you may like since you like stringed instruments: ETgI202Q

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