I was walking in the woods and saw some things I had not noticed before.
This plant, nestled in moss and fir tree needles, is small now, and I wonder what it will look like when it grows up? It could be a shrub, a vine or a flower. It doesn’t look like anything in my cultivated flower garden, so I’m assuming it is a native. It may be spring before I find out how reliable my mental map of its location turns out, so I can what it looks like as a mature plant.
Do you see the plant growing out of the middle of this tree stump? The amount of moss on the stump gives a sign that it was cut a few years ago. (Live trees here do not have much moss growing on the outer bark.) The moss breaks down the outer layers of bark, while the stump decomposes slowly. I followed a vine with my hand, from next to this stump where it started, to the top center of the stump, where it re-rooted in debris that had naturally collected.
Did you know that a fir tree seedling can take root in the stump of a cut tree? It can take years, but plant detritus can collect on a stump and the conditions for a seedling to grow and mature can be met. I’ve seen examples of large tree stumps that were moved to downtown Portland, Oregon, and inoculated with seeds. The baby trees are now over 20 feet tall. These trees are in front of the Oregon Convention Center, and have plaques that describe how they were made.
While this is well within the range of how mushrooms grow in many places in nature, I have not seen them growing in clumps like this around here. These were good-sized ‘shrooms, and I notice the outer ones appear to be the oldest. I’ll try to check in on them and see if new ones are still appearing.
Many of the larger mushrooms that grew so lush and tidy after a few rainstorms, are now in bits and strewn all around. The local deer are known to nibble on mushrooms, and have spread the remnants all over. They are not tidy eaters, but then why would they be?