What with Hurricane Ophelia last weekend and Storm Brian this weekend, the UK has taken a bit of a battering recently and the local park is ankle deep in mud and sodden leaves.
Clearly, though, the weather has produced the right conditions for growth for some organisms. One particular fallen tree was host to all sorts of alien growths, and looked very impressive indeed decked out in its finery of tiny beads and flounces, frills, ridges and ripples in all the autumnal shades from bright orangey russet to a deep aubergine that made me think of grapes or mulled wine.
By far the most impressive, though, were these pearly white growths, which I think might be Porcelain Fungus, oudemansiella mucida. I’m not sure whether it was because of the rain, or whether they always look as if they’ve just been slimed.
The light wasn’t particularly good for taking photographs, but the open fungi gills were translucent and, looked at from beneath, the things seemed almost luminescent.
Years ago, after the local council had been clearing up the river bank and I found turkeytails growing on the dead wood, I wrote:
The air smells of damp sawdust, and fungi
like jungle blooms
cluster around tree stumps.
In the exposed heartwood
Nature has left her fingerprints.
Perhaps if I were to write something similar today, those exotic blooms would become luminescent jellyfish.