At this past weekend’s annual Whistler BioBlitz, I added another adjective to describe me. Joining bark-sniffing and (let’s be honest) tree-hugging is “mushroom-licking”. Sampling the guttation from this red-banded polypore (or red belt) is not something that would normally cross my mind.
However, I accompanied some of the fungal experts at the BioBlitz, and it was suggested to me that the water droplets tasted like a weak mushroom sauce (they do) and imbibing them wouldn’t harm me (not yet, though I did have an exceptionally strange dream last night). The video of me licking this polypore may or may not find its way online; perhaps in the future, when something scandalous is needed. For more on guttating fungi, see the article Why Do Mushrooms Weep? (PDF) from Fungi Magazine (an apparently unanswered question).
Fomitopsis pinicola is a species of northern temperate coniferous forests. It most often grows on coniferous logs or stumps (pinicola = “pine-dwelling”), where it is an important agent of decay. Infrequently, it can be found on dead hardwoods or, sometimes, parasitic on living trees. It is inedible, in large part due to its woody nature. Michael Kuo’s always-excellent MushroomExpert.com has a brief article on Fomitopsis pinicola.