A Shelf Fungus By Any Other Name

A shelf or bracket fungus growing on fallen maple

This image gives a sense of scale.

The largest fruiting body was about 15 inches across. I need a species name. Anyone?

I wish I could have captured the constant vapor of spores wafting out from under these monstrous ears of fungus fruiting body.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Fred, wondrously, it’s called dryad’s saddle
    and it’s delicious. Had my first last fall, when I picked a gigantic one.
    if they’re large they can be tough, cook only the tenderer outer edges.
    last fall, having moved to rural Driftless Area wisconsin, I also picked
    2 hen of the woods (maitake) mushrooms for a total o f 9.5 pounds.
    now that is totally delicious. I still have some in the freezer.

  2. Thanks so much. This log has a long fungal life ahead, and it is not far from our regular walk around the place, so we’ll keep an eye on it for future consumption.

  3. synchronistically, I found a large one
    this morning

    they, like maitakes, regrow several years in the same place

    now if only I could find some morels!