The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

Freaky Fungus of the Week: Old Man of the Woods




(Photo courtesy of Kevin Keyes)

When it comes to fungi that leave no mystery as to how they got their name, Old Man of the Woods definitely fits the bill.

It's wooly. It's scaly. It has uneven coloring. Basically, it always looks a little unkempt and very much past its prime. 

The scientific name, Strobilomyces floccopus, roughly translated, means "wooly mushroom that looks like a pine cone." 

While many mushrooms can be difficult to identify because of their rapidly changing appearances, this one is much easier due to some very distinct characteristics. In addition to the gray-white cap with tufts of black hair on it, the underside has pores instead of gills.

One unique feature of the Old Man is that when the flesh is damaged, it will turn pink and then fairly quickly fade to black. It's the fungi world's version of liver spots.

Based on the image above, that Old Man has been used and abused by nature. The one below has had a kinder existence. 

(Photo by Suzy Lyttle)

RELATED: READ ABOUT OUR OTHER FREAKY FUNGI

So where can you find these gems?

They'll be on the ground in mixed hardwood forests, especially under oak trees. We've had a pretty good run the past few years of coming across them at Hickory Creek Preserve.

Quiz: How Savvy Are You About Snowy Owls?

12/19/2018

Take this quiz to see how much you know about this treasured species.

Read More


Have Your Christmas Lights Been Cut? Blame These Troublemakers

12/17/2018

Almost nothing kills the holiday spirit quite like looking out your window to find that the Christmas lights you spent hours hanging outside are no longer lighting up the winter night.

Read More


Creature Feature: The Stunning Snowy Owl

12/16/2018

Snowy owls are a prized find among bird-watchers, because the beautiful birds are a sight to behold set against a wintry backdrop.

Read More


The Citizen Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates