Our warm and wet weather (a result of La Niña weather phenomenon), has caused quite lush vegetation this Summer. Included in this growth spurt are fungi that grow on dead wood and leaf litter. The one illustrated here is probably Pycnoporus coccineus, or the "scarlet bracket fungus". It grows on dead wood and is one of the most common and colourful brackets that can be found even in dry weather growing on sticks and wood.
It is an orange to scarlet, fan shaped, firm bracket attaching along the straight edge to wood. Size is very variable. Juvenile fruit-bodies are a lovely scarlet colour; the underside is a deeper colour and consists of fine pores. As this fungus ages, the bracket gets larger; also the surface colour tends to fade with age and exposure to strong sunlight – in fact some old specimens are bleached to white, but usually the pores retain some colour. Can be solitary but more common in large groups on sticks and logs, refreshed after rain. It is probably the most widely distributed bracket fungus in Australia and is a saprophyte.
Saprophytic fungi feed on dead plant and animal remains. Many are extremely beneficial, breaking down this organic material into humus, minerals and nutrients that can be utilised by plants. Without these fungi we would also disappear under a mountain of unrotted dead leaves and logs!
This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme,
and also part of the Nature Notes meme.