Species of the Month - November 2018

Each month we feature a picture of a species to be found on The Commons. Wherever possible, all species featured have been photographed here. This month we are featuring Blushing Bracket Fungus ( Daedaleopsis confragosa). It is a thin-walled maze polypore. This tough, inedible, slow-growing fungus is commonly seen in tiers on dead or dying willow trunks and branches, as in this photograph, and can also appear on alder. The fungus we see is the fruiting body of the organism, while the rest remains hidden in the wood. Some appear once for only a short time although others are perennial, gradually increasing in size each year.

Fungi are crucial to the breakdown of dead wood, and the recycling of its component parts, so are essential elements of a woodland ecosystem. Some feed only on dead wood and are entirely harmless. Others attack living trees, killing the tissues and initiating decay. This fungus can be seen all year round but is most obvious in the autumn months as the leaves fall. It bruises pink when scratched giving it its common name ‘blushing’. It often has faint concentric circles on its upper surface.

The polypore can be used in ornamental paper making, whereby the fruit bodies are pulped, pressed, and dried to produce sheets with unusual textures and colours.

More pictures and information about this and other fungi can be found on the website of the British Mycological Society.

Click here to see the other Species of the month in 2018.

Click here to see the Species of the Month for last year, or here for 2016's Plants of the Month.