Blooming Nurse Logs

A few weeks from Winter, and our nurse logs are alive with blooming mushrooms.  Technically fruiting bodies meant to release spores for reproduction, I look forward to them every fall as they are invisible to me otherwise.  

We have scores of nurse logs around the property, as well as wood chips for pathways and a log-pile, so we see many species of fungi, and each are remarkable and interesting to look at (and photograph)!  These are polypores, also known as bracket fungi, and they (as well as countless other fungi spp.) pave the way for the food chain, nesting sites, and nutrient cycling within ecosystems.  

So next time you see a colony of fruiting bodies, imagine all the insects and invertebrate populations that flourish and sustain themselves on them.  Those populations feed wild birds.  Fruiting bodies like polypors or this little orange peel fungi called Aleuri aurantia play an important role in local ecosystems and are a sign of a healthy one.