One of the most common fungi is the Turkey Tail. It is easy to identify by its highly zonate (separate concentric color zones) patterning... or so you may think.
Below we'll go over the characteristics of the True Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), as well as five others that look quite similar but are in fact completely different!
The photo above shows a scene of lush greens after a rain... what it doesn't show is that this photo was taken in early January (last year) and all the trees except the Eastern Hemlocks are bare! What an incredible scene it was to come across, especially in the dead of winter when (here in NE Ohio) one tends to forget what lush green scenes look like.
A member of the pine family, this coniferous species can be identified by its unique qualities -
Prefers growing in cool, moist areas. Often found in gorges along sandstone cliffs where cracks in the rocks release cool air from deep underground. A native from Canada, these trees were brought to the area thousands of years ago when the glaciers moved through the area.
Important resource for food, nesting, and shelter for many animals including - barred owl, white-tailed deer, turkey, grouse, rabbits, porcupines (not around here), and others use as places to live. Squirrels, mice, and voles eat the seeds.
Hemlock Wooly Adelgid
"Eastern hemlocks are currently under attack by an exotic sap sucking insect that originated from Asia. The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is a serious pest in Shenandoah National Park that threatens to eliminate all eastern hemlock stands. First observed in 1988, it has since been found in all sections of the park, at all elevations, and on all aspects where surveys have occurred. Hemlock woolly adelgid has caused significant decline in hemlock crown health and tree mortality has increased Park-wide. Without intervention, there is a very real possibility that this insect pest could directly or indirectly eliminate eastern hemlocks from Shenandoah's ecosystem. Efforts to extend the lives of our remaining healthy hemlocks in 2005 will be accomplished through soil and stem treatments with a systemic pesticide that remains at effective levels to kill adelgids for over a year. Some vehicle accessible areas will also be sprayed with an insecticidal soap. The battle to save a lasting remnant of Shenandoah's hemlock gene pool for future generations continues."
Different from the herb poison hemlock (completely different species).
The bark has been cut and used for its tannin to aid in tanning leather.
As the forecast keeps warning about the snowstorm en route, I can't help thinking about the most interesting wildflower who is probably laughing at the thought of being covered in snow. "Haha," it says, "I shall use my unique ability to cut through whatever snow and ice may come!" Because, you know, plants laugh at our silly human worries.
At any rate, if you're not familiar with this unique plant, read on, it's one to know!
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Beginning in late winter, the skunk cabbage is the first life to emerge from the cold snow covered ground. Through its rapid growth, its cellular respiration actually melts the snow around it reaching up to 60 degrees fahrenheit! The skunk cabbage gets its name from the smell emitted from the spathe generally after disruption or bruising. This smell is important as it attracts the flies that will then pollinate the spadix. By late spring, a tight roll of bright green leaves emerge from next to the spathe, slowly unraveling into huge green cabbage-like leaves that will blanket the wet and wooded area in which it lies.
January 1 at Dundee falls - Beach City Wildlife Area
As 2018 ended with much rain the waterfalls of the new year were full and flowing! If you are one for symbolism it is as if all the hard work you put in to last year will flow into the new year with grace and ease. The waterfall is symbolic of release of emotion, rejuvenation, and the renewal of spirit, it is thought to have cleansing powers. Scientifically speaking waterfalls work to turn positive ions (molecules that have lost one of more electron) into negative ions much like that of rain drops (charged by reactions in the clouds) - what this means can be quickly be misconstrued and manipulated into whatever you want it to say, so I won't, more research needs to be done to put a solid conclusion on this observation - reminder: negative ion bracelets are a scam.
Ah yes, there's that libra balance (haha).
The witch hazel bushes were still in bloom - appropriate as I have always found their flowers to remind me of streamers, party poppers, and the tinsel horns found this time of year.
While we didn't hike the entire trail to the other falls, we still spent a good hour and a half basking in the ions (haha) and breathing in the forest, rejuvenating, and cleansing the mind to prepare for 2019.
Happy New Year my friends!
How about that weather last night? 50 degrees and windy as all get out! But here we are, facing a new year in the cool calm morning of January 1st.
January is (on average) the coldest month of the year.
It's named for the Roman God Janus who is depicted having two faces - one to look at the past, another the future.
"A wet January, a wet spring."
A tradition of ours is to start the new year with a hike (go figure right) followed by pork and sauerkraut with family.
2014 - Gorge Metro Park - Cuyahoga Falls
2015 - Gorge Metro Park - Cuyahoga Falls
2016 - Johnson Woods - Marshallville
2017 - Silver Creek - Norton
2018 - Brown's Lake Bog - Shreve
2019 - TBD
Happy New Year everyone!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.