Dryad’s Saddle

On May 14th, I was out for a bike ride with my daughter along the bike path in Hadley Massachusetts when I spotted a stump, presumably elm, hosting the fruiting body of an elegant polypore.  Polyporus Squamosus, has a unique golden pileus (cap) with scales, has somewhat of a substantial stock, and has hymenophore (pores) instead of gills on its underbelly.

Here’s the unique scaled cap, sometimes referred to as Pheasant Back because of its resemblance to Pheasant’s feathers
Polyporus Squamosus has pores instead of gills

These mushrooms are not easily confused for other mushrooms due to their unique appearance and strict activity as saprobic white rotters on hardwood trees, and more often than not, elm trees.

Reading on themushroomforager.com‘s post on this polypore, I came across a comment that stated where there are not morels there are dryad’s saddles.  It is unclear to me if they have an antagonistic and competitive relationship and will not grow near one another, or if simply, dryad’s saddle is more prevalent than morels.

I made a lateral cut along the hymenophore and tried to view them under the microscope.  Without oil still, I couldn’t get up to 1000x, and due to the thickness of my lazy cut I couldn’t get up to 400x, but at 100x, I could see basidia wrapping entirely around each of the pores.


I then took a cross section of the hymenophore.  At 100x I could see basidia and hypheae.

The roof of this tunnel has more hypheae than bats.  Visible here at 40x magnification.
Magnified to 100x, the pore’s hymenopher take no an elegant shape.  Is this how fruiting bodies give rise to basidia?  Is this a basidia forming on the right side of a weakening hypheae?
100x magnification of hymenophore.  Basidia on right and hypheae at top.

I haven’t mentioned it yet, but given that this fruiting body was young, and not tough and rocky, I decided to saute the thinner outer edge of a large fruiting body for desert.  I probably used too much oil in my preparation, but the results were very good.  This marks my first forage-to-table experience: a celebratory occasion!


Slimy Jelly Fungus


Photo Taken 5/1/2016

This is a deflated member of the family Exidiaceae.  I recognize these as slimy fungus.  I have seen this type of fungus before.  Several years ago, I saw an orange slime fungus on a beaver stump, growing where the teeth marks were.  For some reason, I thought that I heard that there was a fungal species that only grew on stumps laden with beaver saliva.  I have yet to confirm that for myself with a second account of such a thing, but I still believe.

On a more recent occasion, a similar fungus on a dead tree limb by the Westfield River at the Chesterfield Gorge on 3/19/16 called to me.  Its yellowish-orange coloration stopped me in my tracks.  I was happy with the identification of “Witch’s Butter”.  Digging a bit deeper into Michael Kuo’s website, I find that this orange specimen seems to fit the species Tremella Mesenterica.  This fungus fits into the Basidiomycetes phylum, the Agricomycotina Subphyllum, the Tremellomycetes Order, and the Tremellaceae Family.  Note that Several species are grouped into the name Tremella Mesenterica, which can only be discerned using a microscope.

Chesterfield Gorge 3/19/2016


The black jelly fungus I saw on 5/1/2016 is a bit different than the Tremella Mesenterica.  Instead of fitting into the Tremellomyceted Order, this fits into the Auriculariales Order, and into the Auriculariaceae Family.  This is an example of Exidia Nigricans or Exidia Glandulosa.  I’m not entirely sure.  When I first viewed this jelly fungus it was sprinkling, but hadn’t rained in several days, and we’d been coming off a bit of a drought.  I identified the jelly fungus as Exidia Nigricans.  E. Nigricans appeared like a deflated balloon in all of the pictures that I could find of it on the internet.  The same specimen, following rain on 5/2/2016 looked more like Exidia Glandulosa.  I will refer to this as E. Glandulosa for now.


Photo Taken 5/2/2016 (overexposed dime in foreground used for size comparison)

This was the first specimen that I looked at with my microscope.  While I only can view up to 400x (no oil yet), I put my new slides to use with a few thin slivers of the top and bottom, and a crushed segment too.

Slivers of E. Glandulosa – Underside on Left and Topside on Right
Crushed specimen of E. Glandulosa

The most exciting thing that I got from the microscope views was actually seeing the basidia.  I don’t believe that I saw any basidia in my crushed specimen, but in without a slide cover, they were beautiful.  I tried to capture the images using my cellphone camera in order to share them.

Basidia at 400x on E. Glandulosa uncrushed topside specimen.  This was the best photo I took of the basidia.  This photo does not do it justice.  I really got an excellent view of a lot of basidia.  Where the surface of the sample was more vertical, and the basidia were more horizontal, they were very much visible.

In addition to the basidia, there were many wart-like structures visible on the topside specimen.  These structures either restricted the most light or had the most pigment, or both.  They were all particularly dark structures.  My guess is that this is where the growth happens.

Wart-like structures at 400x on E. Glandulosa uncrushed topside specimen