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Phaeolus schweinitzii

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 26 October 2010 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

Phaeolus schweinitzii (Dennenvoetzwam (BE) / Dyer's polypore or velvet-top fungus (EN) / Kiefern-Braunporling (DE) / Phéole de Schweinitz (FR)) is a fungus in the Fomitopsidaceae family. This mushroom is a classic "butt rot" fungus, attacking trees through their roots and producing decay in the root system and the heartwood of the lower portion of the tree (up to about 10 or 20 feet above ground). In brown rot the fungus digests mostly cellulose and leaves the lignin behind. Because cellulose is part of the structure that holds adjacent plant cells together, the wood loses strength quickly and the tree may break. The result is a weakened, or even hollow, tree base--which makes the tree more susceptible to windthrow.
The conks can be found on the base of conifers (such as Douglas-fir and Pine) or on the ground growing up from the roots near the tree. The fungus can be spread from tree to tree by the production of abundant basidiospores, and the mycelium can also grow through the soil. Since we don't see what goes on underground, it might be surprising to find out that adjacent trees often share roots, which facilitates easy movement of the fungal mycelium between trees.
The genus name Phaeolus means dark or obscure, referring to its dark brown color when mature. The species was named in honor of American mycologist Lewis David von Schweinitz, thus the species epithet of schweinitizii, meaning "of Schweinitz."
This species is also an excellent natural source of green, yellow, gold, or brown dye, depending on the material dyed and the mordant used.

Image: Kalmthout (BE) - 01/10/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/40 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

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daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Beautiful velvet texture! the crispy focus on them makes them look so luscious! ;)

26 Oct 2010 6:51am

@daniela scharnowski: They look a bit hard but when touched those are really soft ... nice contrast :-) Thanks for your comment again, Daniela !

Lougris from Toulouse, France

une image presque abstraite très bien exécutée !!
j'aime les couleurs "terre" !!:)

26 Oct 2010 11:45am

@Lougris: Thank you very much, Lougris. I think the yellow border is the finishing touch in this species - accentuating the rounded forms.

Olivier from Manage, Belgium

Superbes couleurs..

26 Oct 2010 12:38pm

@Olivier: Thanks, Olivier. Sometimes the species is hard to spot due to these colors :-)

Loretta from Pretoria, South Africa

Lovely colours, textures and pattern.

26 Oct 2010 2:23pm

@Loretta: Thank you very much for your nice comment, Loretta.

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Wunderschöne Farben und einmaliger Bildaufbau !

26 Oct 2010 3:01pm

@Loner: The colors do match wonderfull together. I think it is the little birch-leaf that is the final touch in the composition. I chose not to remove it - and I'm glad I didn't. Have a nice day, Sonja. Greetz !

Marilla from Turku, Finland

It's funny but the little leaf makes this shot complete! Nice earthy colours.

26 Oct 2010 5:37pm

@Marilla: I totally agree with you on the leaf ! I decided not to remove this and I'm very happy I did not.

Skyriani from Nelson, New Zealand

love the entire series. The texture and colour here is marvelous

26 Oct 2010 6:40pm

@Skyriani: I'm very happy with that. Thanks for taking some time to visit all these images and commenting on them. Appreciate that !

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

Very rough looking like bark and yet you know they are probably soft to the touch. Well taken.. the poetry seems constant with you as of late.. I'm impressed with your evolving skill!

27 Oct 2010 1:06am

@Dutçh: It is indeed soft when touched.. a strange effect ! I just like to experiment in finding new ways capturing the "soul" of a species ... One who is not evolving has te be called 'old', don't you think ?

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

Wonderful textures and tones

28 Oct 2010 6:48am

@Christine: The velvety texture gives some wonderfull macro-opportunities.

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

You are becoming young then ;)

28 Oct 2010 10:09pm

@Dutçh: wishfull thinking ... :-)

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

You did a wonderful job of showing the concentric rings, the texture, and the subtle color transitions. In any other light this would look drab. Well done!

29 Oct 2010 12:14am

@Julie Brown: Thanks Julie. This is not a very attractive species to find, but looking at the details makes it worthwhile looking for it.

Canon EOS 400D
1/40 second
ISO 200
150 mm