Montana Outdoors

October 28, 2007

Fir and fungus

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Trees — montucky @ 3:03 pm

Completely missing from the long list of my personal faults and deficiencies is a lack of love and respect for trees. This fir fell victim to one of our forest fires just a few years ago. I would ask those who don’t share this respect to count the number of rings and consider the fact that each ring represents one year in the life of the tree. I have lived a fairly long time already, and if my count is correct, I was born when one of the rings about a third of the way in towards the center was formed, or when this tree was already two feet in diameter and over a hundred and twenty years old. Somewhat of a humbling thought, isn’t it?

Fir tree growth rings

As I was hunting on Thursday, a splash of bright orange caught my eye, this time not in the air but on the ground. Atop a knoll in the high country, amid chips of bark from a logging venture of long ago, this little fungus was brightly attempting to compete with the colors of the larch, and doing so quite well in my opinion. It’s effort should not be overlooked! It’s about the size of a tennis ball cut in half and swung open. (Regarding the small split on the left side, no, I didn’t step on it; an elk did.)

Unknown fungi


  1. The tree trunk is fascinating, and I’m certain tells many tales to those willing to listen.

    As for that orange thing, if you hadn’t explained it, I’d have been afraid to ask.


    Comment by Pinhole — October 29, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  2. I LOVE the warm reddish color of the fir … that’s what got me “in trouble” when I set up a post to hold my feeders and then it rotted and fell over. Still, I love to make furniture too but, being concerned about global warming, climate change, deforestation, etc. (and long before this became “fashionable”) I always try to find wood that can be “recycled” from construction sites (as in hotels, old barns, etc.).

    Much as I love wood though, I gotta admit that that fungus is just gorgeous! Do you know what kind it is? I guess I’ll have to hit the books again. (I wonder if it is what we, in New England, call “British soldiers” because of its brilliant red color?)



    Comment by Janet — October 29, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

  3. Pinhole,

    Yes, I’d love to have a book or a video containing all the interesting events that tree witnessed there in the wild country and then the parallel of events from the rest of the world that matched it. It would be a history lesson!

    The orange fungus was a surprise. I have no idea how they conduct their lives, but I have seen a lot of color in many of them.


    Comment by montucky — October 29, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

  4. Janet,

    I remember your post about your feeders. I have done similar things too.

    I love the looks of real wood too. There’s actually quite a market for used wood, and not only because people are trying to conserve the forest resources, but simply for the looks of it. I will never waste a piece of wood as long as it has life in it. Over the years we have used lots of used railroad ties for example for landscaping and other things. They seem to last forever, but you have to use them in places where a little of the creosote won’t do any harm.

    I can hardly believe it, but that was the first time I’ve seen that fungus. I’m not knowledgeable at all about them and have no idea what it is. I’ve been in similar places hundreds of times and in that particular place several times and not seen one. It must flourish only at a certain time and probably for just a short time.


    Comment by montucky — October 29, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

  5. I love that fungus. It is beautiful.


    Comment by teaspoon — October 29, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

  6. teaspoon,

    I thought it was too. It’s a very vivid color and it isn’t splotchy at all. It has a sort of “rubbery” feel to it. There’s always something new out there!


    Comment by montucky — October 29, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

  7. things of beauty come in all shapes and sizes. never thought I would say a fungus looks pretty! that tree is absolutely amazing! I enjoyed these unique shots here!


    Comment by silken — October 29, 2007 @ 9:02 pm

  8. ps-just linked back to this post


    Comment by silken — October 29, 2007 @ 9:07 pm

  9. silken,

    I’ve seen quite a bit of color in various fungi, but never as much as this one. It also seems unusual because it is so late in the year: many years there is quite a bit of snow by now at the altitude this was growing.

    When I see a lot of rings in a tree, it always makes me start thinking about all of those years when it stood there simply as a silent observer.

    Thanks for the link!


    Comment by montucky — October 29, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

  10. boy, it’s just too bad that a tree can’t tell you it’s own story huh?

    I love that orange, if it got into a contest with a pumpkin, the pumpkin would lose! – I’ve ran into this but only once or twice I think. Seeing your tree and reading your comments reminded me of something…. (drum roll please?)

    I ran into this link and I thought you’d like it. You can search your state and your national forest to get old photographs. I thought you might find it fascinating because you may recognize somethings. (I did.) Which I found odd… anyway something to do on a cold winter night. Hope you like it.


    Comment by aullori — October 30, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  11. Thanks for that link! I know I’ll spend some time there!

    We are very fortunate, you know, to live in areas where we can fairly easily go out and see things like these!


    Comment by montucky — October 30, 2007 @ 12:55 am

  12. I love fungus, their colors can be so intense sometimes, neat shot Terry.


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — October 30, 2007 @ 7:15 pm

  13. They are certainly interesting organisms. I need to spend some time learning more about them.


    Comment by montucky — October 30, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  14. I agree… there are soooo many day’s I feel pretty blessed and wonder why I’m here instead of all the good folk I meet?… 🙂 I’ve met so many. (glad you like the link… when I found it I thought instantly of you.)


    Comment by aullori — October 31, 2007 @ 2:15 am

  15. […] actually, this was the first, came as I was reading another blog entry by montucky titled “Fur and fungus.” As montucky wrote, he was hiking in the area when he noticed, “a splash of bright […]


    Pingback by The Color Red, Part I « A Little Bit o’ Everything! — February 15, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

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