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Chicken of the Woods

Laetiporus conifericola

Description:

Several large fruiting bodies growing up the base of a large old Sitka Spruce Tree. This was covered in droplets from guttation. Guttation is not the same as condensation, as it is a metabolic product of the fungus rather than dew or collected rain. At the time I had taken this photo, we had one of the most dry summers Kodiak has seen in decades and we had not had rain in weeks (very unusual for Kodiak), so I was surprised to see such fresh fungi peeking out of the tree. Apparently Laetiporus is known to fruit even without rain unlike many other mushrooms. It is fascinating to think about what is going on unseen inside the tree before the mushroom bursts out, as the tree looks like any other dead or dying tree from the outside.

Habitat:

Dying Sitka Spruce tree in a forest dominated by Sitka Spruce. It was the only tree in the vicinity with this fungus on it, as other dead and dying trees seemed to have been already colonized by a more common fungus we see here that is some type of conk.

Notes:

Distinguished from other Laetiporus species by its growth on conifers and being on the West Coast of the US. It was only described as a species in 2001, and was often misidentified as the better known Laetiporus sulphureus, and still often is. Laetiporus species are known to cause brown cubical rot in the heartwood of trees, and are considered parasites (consumes living tissue of its host) and saprobes (lives off dead or dying material).

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6 Comments

Machi
Machi a year ago

Thanks Leuba!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway a year ago

Beautiful photos Machi.

Machi
Machi a year ago

Thanks for the nomination! And of course, thank you Maria and Mark!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

A very healthy looking stack.

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Maria dB
Maria dB a year ago

Very interesting spotting!

Machi
Spotted by
Machi

Alaska, USA

Spotted on Aug 29, 2019
Submitted on Sep 26, 2019

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