Fun with Urban Fungi During a Lockdown
Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns that have been taking place, I have had the opportunity to consistently visit a patch of forest near my home. I’d usually head out with a field guide in hand, as well as a mobile app to help identify some mushrooms, as I was eagerly awaiting this sign of spring/summer. I had noticed some small brown gilled mushrooms I couldn’t identify earlier on in the month, though due to a sudden drop of temperature shortly after the reawakening of spring seemed to be on pause.
After a few weeks of not seeing anything new, I noticed some fruiting bodies of Cerioporus/Polyporus squamosus (Dryad's saddle, pheasant's back), which were coming up out of some dead hardwood stumps. A few days prior to this there were some signs of pinning, but I wasn’t sure what kind of mushroom it may be.
Sure enough, when taking a closer look at the fungi it was most certainly Cerioporus/Polyporus squamosus, and despite only being a few days old the underside of the fungus was completely covered in insects (mostly various larvae). In the past few years a lot of the ash trees in the area had to be cut down due to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, and while it was unfortunate to see them go, it’s nice to see that decomposers have gone to work to help with nutrient cycling and the enrichment of the forest soil.
Benjamin Dan is currently a final year student finishing a degree in biology. Ever since he was young he has enjoyed the outdoors, and particularly in the past few years has started to take more of an interest in fungi and the local nature in his own neighborhood.