I found this neon-yellow eruption on a eucalyptus stump this morning. I swear it wasn’t there yesterday, but that doesn’t seem possible. I always stand on this stump, in the southeast corner of the back garden, to cut back the neighbor’s wisteria that wants to throttle the smoke tree ‘Grace,’ who replaced the crashing eucalyptus, one of two closely planted gum trees we inherited with the house. Both gum trees eventually were brought down by strong winds. It is always a shock to see a tree down. There is an unbelievable amount of wood that makes up a tree, and to find a 30-foot gum tree sprawled across your garden, a wreckage of boughs and branches instead of its former graceful, upright self, is a memorable sight, to say the least. The only analogy that seems even close for sheer volume of material would be stripping and disposing of a whale carcass that inexplicably dropped from the skies.
This particular fungus, judging by photos, appears to be Laetiporus gilbertsonii, a bracket fungus, a fungus that grows on trees. In L. gilbertsonii’s case, particularly eucalyptus trees. This stump is what’s left of the last eucalypt to blow down several years ago, taking the newly built pergola with it before the pergola was weeks’ old. But the pergola did save the house from the brunt of the impact. It would seem the tree really picked its moment to fall.
Mine doesn’t have the distinctive shelf-like shape, but in all other areas it seems to fit the ID. And, don’t laugh, it’s also called chicken-of-the woods. Yep, it supposedly tastes like squawk. Supposedly. That’s something I doubt I’ll ever know first-hand.
Those old eucalypts just keep on giving.