Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Thursday: 12 March 2009

This Post Has No Title  -  @ 04:22:07
The strange hot days, with temperatures 20 degF above normal and gusty winds blowing up during the dry afternoons seem to be coming to an end today. We look to be having a period of a week or so with temperatures more in the range expected for March, and good chances for rain each day.

I had a startled moment, the other day, when I looked up and saw this tree peering at me. I must have been thinking of owls at the time.

Looks like the doublet is due to branch excision, and not excavation by animals. I'd judge this based on the ring of callus rimming what I'd say was the branch collar, as well as the reaction wood that has grown around the double holes. Reaction, or tension wood forms in response to the weight of a heavy branch, among other things and is visible from the outside as assymetric, thicker growth. And callus will form at the base of a branch that is for some reason to be isolated and allowed to die. The callus will prevent entry of alien organisms when the dead branch finally falls out.

It was about a month ago that I photographed the emergent fungus that I think it is Hericium erinaceus. At that time it didn't have much in the way of teeth, just little bumps on the underside. It has since colored up some, and those bumps seem to be lengthening (below).

A closeup of the tooth structures. They're lush and dense but still not nearly as long as in many photographs of this species. But I have now found some examples of photodocumentation that resemble this. Perhaps it's still in an early developmental stage, but unlike mushrooms that pop up out of the ground and then disappear in a day or two, it's certainly taking its time about it!

All species of Hericium are supposed to be very desirable edibles. There does reach a point at which the emergent won't be palatable, but I'd guess any time in the last month would have been suitable for harvest.

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