ISLAND WILD: Mushrooms weep as forests sleep

One of our most memorable fungal finds was discovering Bleeding Hydnellum during a hike in Strathcona Park

A polypore fungus

Think it’s ‘all over’ until springtime? Think again. Mother Earth is at her finest when she tosses sparkling oddities into the winter woods.

Mushrooms with closely-packed pores, rather than gills, not only survive freezing temperatures, but are often at their best from October until March. Occasionally, one will observe a woody type of this fungus, called a polypore growing from a dying or decayed log or stump.

When that fungus excretes liquid, it creates the illusion of a mushroom weeping, a phenomenon particularly striking when sunlight streams through the droplets, causing the fungus to sparkle.  Nature photographers capture images through the drops using close-up ‘macro’ settings.

The scientific term for this state is ‘guttation’, the exudation of liquid from the uninjured surface of a plant. ‘Dew’, which condenses from the atmosphere onto the plant surface, is not the same thing.

Humans breathe out carbon dioxide and water (as a gas) into the atmosphere; many fungi exude the same metabolic products, some invisibly, while others excrete excess liquid visibly as drops.

Some polypores ‘weep’ weakly acid water during growth spurts, when metabolism increases, although droplet formation may occur for many reasons. Fungal guttation remains a topic requiring further scientific investigation.

One of our most memorable fungal finds was discovering Bleeding Hydnellum during a hike in Strathcona Park. This aptly named species, during growth spurts, exudes blood-red droplets over its creamy flesh.

On that timely and gory note, I wish all readers a Happy Halloween. Contact Christine at:

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony 2019. Campbell River Mirror file photo
Campbell River Remembrance Day Ceremony to go ahead in reduced form

Public asked not to attend; event will be streamed on social media, Shaw TV

Father Charles Brandt, a hermit priest. File Photo
Black Creek environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving natural habitats

Two suspects seen outside of Gord Knight Auto on Oct. 27 at around 4:15 a.m. Campbell River RCMP are looking for information on these suspects’ identities. Photo supplied by RCMP
RCMP look for suspects in break-in cases

Two suspects caught on surveilance video

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Police investigation results in multiple property crime charges

A Campbell River RCMP investigation has lead to multiple property crime charges… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Most Read