An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide –

Mystery Photo

11-1-17 mystery photo IMG_4376

What is this white foam at the base of this White Pine, and how did it get there?Β  Please submit answers under “Comments” on my blog site,

25 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Rainwater mixed with some of the resin of the bark πŸ€”

    November 6, 2017 at 6:54 am

  2. Noah Saxenian

    its a water fall

    November 6, 2017 at 6:57 am

  3. Marie Brown

    Spittle bug nymphs

    November 6, 2017 at 7:04 am

  4. Some spittle bug variety??

    November 6, 2017 at 7:11 am

  5. Robyn Deveney

    It is a little known fact that pine trees can carry the rabies virus. You were brave to get so close!! πŸ˜‰

    November 6, 2017 at 7:34 am

    • πŸ™‚

      November 6, 2017 at 9:34 am

    • Sandy


      November 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

    • Hope McLaughlin

      Good one! ;-D

      November 6, 2017 at 10:13 am

  6. the rain and sap mix together in the soil creates a mixture that gives off bubbles like soap.

    November 6, 2017 at 7:39 am

  7. Sara

    I think it’s the result of rainwater and sap mixing and then dripping down, hitting the ground and aerating thereby creating a foamy pile.

    November 6, 2017 at 8:11 am

  8. Thea Lahti

    I would have guessed some sort of frogs eggs…but the spittle bug people seem to actually know what they are talking about.😊

    November 6, 2017 at 8:19 am

  9. larry chase

    A spider web on a very damp morning?

    November 6, 2017 at 8:31 am

  10. Kathryn

    No idea but Ia few years ago I had something similar bubble up out the sand
    (therefore it was brown and foamy) – not like anything I’d ever seen before.

    November 6, 2017 at 9:52 am

  11. dp

    Porcupine dish water?

    November 6, 2017 at 9:56 am

  12. Slime Flux? I had always thought is was a reaction of rain w/ resin or pitch, but then found this entry (which specifies deciduous trees, but maybe also applies to conifers?):

    November 6, 2017 at 10:54 am

  13. Elizabeth

    A wet spider web? Or a slime mold?

    November 6, 2017 at 10:56 am

  14. Carl

    It looks like foam of saponin (soap like substance) that is from the tree bark and dissolved in the rain.

    November 6, 2017 at 11:23 am

  15. Pete Kallin

    Looks like a surfactant formed when dust interacts with pine sap. If you get a lot of rain after a dry spell, the stemflow down the trunk can form soap-like bubbles that flow down the trunk and accumulate at the bottom.

    November 6, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    • fludwig12

      I’d vote for this one. I’ve seen such foam at the base of a tree (or sometimes in a stream). Seems like a natural foaming agent
      mixes with the water.

      November 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm

  16. Ulana Stuart

    This is slime flux which is a bacterial disease that occurs on native deciduous trees. It typically indicates they have been under stress especially drought or that they have been injured.
    As the bacteria grow inside the tree carbon dioxide is released as fermentation occurs resulting in the foam.

    November 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm

  17. Kathie Fiveash

    Either stemflow mixing or alcoholic flux, according to my web search!

    November 6, 2017 at 12:45 pm

  18. Bill On The Hill...

    Excess Dawn dish detergent from the Exxon Valdez oil spilled on a hapless bird… πŸ™‚
    Bill Farr…

    November 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

  19. Catherine Fisher

    Rain water combining with pitch (resins) on the bark of white pine trees. This usually happens in my yard during a “drenchial” (when the rain comes down really hard). I’ve read that pine pitch has soap-like qualities and think maybe hard rains provide enough agitation to make a soapy foam.

    November 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm

  20. Laurie Spry

    Loving reading these; I don’t think I’ve ever seen this and we have acres of pine trees…goin gwith the water/sap reaction below some sort of injury (sapsucker hole etc) to the tree.

    November 7, 2017 at 7:20 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s