An Ontario fungus page may seem odd in a vacation site but this is an Ontario vacation site and Ontario is mainly about forests and wild places. .
In the late summer and fall, Ontario's woodlands are ablaze with color and some of that color is found at or near ground level in the fungus thriving in the warm, moist earth.
As Ontario's millions of trees go through their lives, they shed leaves, branches die and fall, and, eventually, the tree itself dies.
Fungus is nature's recycler, breaking down the wood into food for itself before dying and both tree and fungus add their bodies to form the rich soil.
This chicken-of-the-woods (or Sulphur Polypore) is a good example, growing from the decaying stump of an old tree and hastening the stump's return to the soil.
Another example of this wonderfully colorful fungus.
It's called 'chicken of the woods' because it is popularly supposed to taste like chicken -- but then everything unusual that's edible is described as 'tasting like chicken'.
Another stump with a different fungus, Lacquered Bracket, this time, I think.
I'm not an expert on fungus, only an interested enthusiast. So many types, so many colors and shapes, and all of them practically ignored by all of us.
If we notice them at all, it's to kill them. People are afraid of fungus, which is ridiculous. They're tiny, for the most part, harmless plants.
Here's why, leaving aside the connection with dead things, we're afraid of fungus.
Some, like these Shaggy Ink Caps are only really edible while the gills are still white.
When the gills turn browny-black, unwary people can mistake them for edible mushrooms and they are not.
Here's one Ontario wild mushroom you probably can safely eat, Agaricus Bitorquis.
However, unless you know what you're doing, you should buy your mushrooms at the grocery store.
Many fungus don't look anything like mushrooms so they don't raise the same alarm. Hoof fungus, or Tinder Bracket, is usually well off the ground and resembles nothing edible so people leave them alone.
Despite their appearance many of these tree-growing mushrooms actually are edible, like the Chicken-of-the-wood above. When we visited Hong Kong, some years ago, I was astounded to see fungus just like this one for sale in food shops. They look so woody, you would think them impossible to eat.
The markings and subtle colors of these small Zoned Rosette fungus (I think) look like petals of an autumn flower, a chrysanthemum for example.
Sometimes when I'm out taking pictures, I see things that just have to be photographed.
This one made me smile.It looks so like a... well, use your own imagination.
Not a fall fungus this time.
This beautifully marked fungus was on many of the tree stumps in Sandy Bay Park, Wolfe Island, on the day we visited in spring.
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