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Jelly Fungus Fruiting

11-15-15  jelly fungus IMG_1009The term “jelly fungus” is an informal one applied to species of fungi that have a gelatin-like consistency. The reason for this texture is that the structural filaments, or hyphae, of these fungi have walls that are not thin and rigid as they are in most other species, but instead shrink and expand in response to moisture. The hyphae are expanded and gelatinous when moist, but during dry periods they collapse and become rather hard and resistant to bending. These tissues are able to exist in a dry state for many months and, when exposed to moisture, quickly expand to full size. They may be among the earliest fungi seen in the spring because they have remained dry and inconspicuous all winter, only to revive with the first melting snow or during winter thaws. Jelly fungi come in several colors. Some of the orange and yellow forms found growing on deciduous trees, especially oaks and beech, are called “witches’ butter.”

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2 responses

  1. Rick Wesson

    Good morning,

    I’m hoping you can offer some advice regarding a woodpecker who has been busy chopping a nice round hole at the top of our fairly new chimney chase. Is this normal behavior at this time of year? Is it looking for bugs or setting up a nest for the winter? And, what would be the best and most humane way of dealing with this situation? We don’t want other creatures (e.g., squirrels, mice, etc.) to have access to our house via the chimney.

    Many thanks!
    Rick Wesson

    November 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

    • Hi Rick,

      Chances are it is probably attempting to make a winter roosting hole – they do this at this time of year. I can’t promise you it will stop if you do this, but I know someone who met with success when the hole was covered with tinfoil (scare tactic)…this was in the very beginning of the woodpecker’s work – if the hole is well established you could try covering it with something the woodpecker couldn’t drill through, but in either case, I can’t promise you that it won’t start another hole in another place. Sometimes strips of logger tape blowing in the breeze is enough to keep them away…so sorry you’re having to deal with this and that I don’t have a foolproof solution for you! Here’s what Mass Audubon has to say about it: Good luck! Mary

      November 16, 2015 at 9:38 am

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