Out with the old and in with the new

Disgustingly cliché title aside, I spotted something quite cool (well, there were more awesome things that I’ll be sharing from the visit) earlier on today whilst out inspecting trees in a cemetery – a Rigidoporus ulmarius bracket, detached from its host horse chestnut, masking a fresh growth right behind where it once sat.

So what is Rigidoporus ulmarius? It’s a fungus that, historically, would have colonised the butt of elms (given its scientific name), though as elms are less abundant in the UK thanks to Dutch elm disease, they can now more commonly be found colonising beech, horse chestnut, maple, oak, and poplar (amongst other species, I would expect). It’s rot type is a cubical brown one, meaning it dries out the wood by degrading its cellulose, and its presence can be of particular concern if extensive decay and / or cavities develop – this may lead to brittle fracturing at the tree’s base.

The horse chestnut this fungus has colonised can be seen situated next to a very infrequently-used car park and next to a well-used road.
Sitting within some possibly very extensive reaction growth that, when hit with a sounding hammer, sounded ‘sound’, is the now-detached sporophore.
Here we can really see how algae has colonised the sporophore’s surface – commonplace is such a sight with Rigidoporus ulmarius.
And sitting directly behind this was a fresh growth that must have been 4cm in width at most. I put the detached sporophore back where I found it, masking this newly-growing one. Perhaps someone else will have a similar surprise in the future!
Out with the old and in with the new

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