A Slimey Find
Magnolias are blooming. The bees are buzzing around the Prunus blossoms. The Daffodils are abundant, and the Palm House parterre is adorned with orange and yellow splashes of colour. Spring is well and truly upon us here in Kew (at last) although, regrettably, there hasn’t been a great deal of fungi this past week apart from the odd wood muncher down at the log trail. I like the colour of spring, but miss the fungal delights.
However, when I went for a lovely sunny walk in the gardens during this last week, I happened across a rather slimey tree. It was a Cornus contorversa, or Table Dogwood. You will see from the images just how it appears. A very orange and gelatinous substrate blanketing different branches of the Cornus. I had a sniff and it didn’t smell of anything of any description, which doesn’t help. But what was it? I am assuming some sort of slime flux. Calling upon social media (oh yes) for any lovely forest pathologists and field mycologists that may have more of a clue, it was concluded that this stuff is likely a slime flux. And is most probably
Fusicolla merismoides. It is from the Nectriaceae family and is often known as the definitive tree slime. Deer Vomit slime as it is often called. (Is their vomit orange then? Who knew?). Sadly, the sample I found wasn’t very photogenic….
Apparently, there is a different sequence for every strain that has been DNA barcodes to date. Please take a look at this link regarding the slime flux and how it is actually very complex involving many different fungal species! http://www.dnabarcodes2011.org/conference/program/schedule/treeslime.pdf
This ‘slime’ is like a mixture of bacteria and different fungi that grow on the sap which has oozed from the tree. The carotene pigment gives it the orange colouring. All in all, rather fascinating for a bit of slime!
What have you found this week that has surprised you? Sometimes, we can find treasures where we least expect them….
I will leave you with a picture of ceramic (I consider them fairly tasteful) fungi I found at the garden centre, just perfect for my pots I have been planting this weekend. It has been a positively perfect weekend for gardening 🙂