28 November 2012

Cauliflowers Growing on Trees

As the year draws on one of the major tasks for rangers is to inspect our trees. As you can imagine, it's no small undertaking and although quite a serious task, it’s also a great excuse to look at some beautiful trees and fungi! So off we go, armed with hammers, binoculars and a pokey stick. Doesn’t sound very technical I admit, but it’s amazing what these simple tools can tell you.


It’s not always just the tree itself we investigate.  Possible problems can be obvious. Above is a fungus we found on a Douglas Fir. Known as' Cauliflower Fungus' or Sparassis crispa it attacks the roots and sometimes the base of conifers.


Above is another tree related fungus, the 'Shaggy Scalycap', not looking very shaggy or scaly in the picture I'll admit, but just caught in time for us to identify. (On that note, don’t leave mushrooms in your warm office over the weekend, and then drop them into your manager’s filing cabinet on Monday morning, just some friendly advice!)

These two finds both flagged up some possible issues for us, but, it’s worth noting that these fungi create vital habitat for insects, birds and even food for red squirrels. The scalycap is one fungus eaten by red squirrels.

This I think shows the line we tread. We need to keep our places safe, but we also need keep trees with these fascinating fungi. While we're on the subject of trees .... 

How's this for a Xmas Tree?


Herioc work by the Rangers got the tree into and standing upright in Wray Castle (no easy task!). If you enjoy decorating Xmas trees you can do just that at Wray Castle which is open at weekends for Xmas-themed activities until Xmas Eve. You can check out the range of Xmas activities here.


Fungi post and photo by Matt
Xmas tree photo from John A

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