03.12.2023 The Conk in Winter

There are a few mushrooms known as Conks.  This one is the Tinder Conk-Fomes fomentarius.  It has several other names such as hoof fungus and a couple more with tinder as part. It has been used for that purpose for thousands of years as evidenced by the find of Ötzi the Iceman whose age was estimated to be 5000 years and was carrying several pieces which science has determined were for tinder.

These fungi are both tree decay pathogens and decomposers that remain on the tree until it is completely returned to the earth, sometimes for as long as 30 years.  I found these near the Amethyst Brook waterfall that I shared a few posts ago and they were there the last time I visited but that was awhile ago and this birch tree may have fallen into the brook by now. If one was to use these to start a fire they would need to be prepared in advance, sliced thinly and dried.


About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to 03.12.2023 The Conk in Winter

  1. Jet Eliot says:

    It was great fun learning about conks, Steve, and the creative way humans have used them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. oneowner says:

    Excellent photo, Steve. Wouldn’t it be a great project if you could go back to this same spot and rephotograph the same mushrooms every year until they have completely decomposed? That would be book-worthy! I’d buy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cool and interesting history, and image, Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s very interesting about using these for tinder, it would’ve never occurred to me to try that. Although The Flaming Fungus would be a good name for a band.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wally Jones says:

    Patterns of some fungi are incredibly interesting, such as these Conks!

    Your superb photograph shows the fascinating textures of the birch tree bark combined with that of the mushrooms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most folks just think of mushrooms as those bland white capped variety we add to soups and stir fries but many are very attractive when viewed closely. Take a look at this related one for example.
      I was very happy to get a nice branch for the polypore to be perched upon.


  6. melody says:

    I read a great essay by Paul Stamets about conk mushrooms and fungal intelligence, kind of like the conk is the wise old hermit of the forest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting reading and viewing, Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    Interesting, I didn’t know that about these fungi. They do look like a hoof.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. These are reminiscent in shape of the ice formations you recently showed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It always amazes me what nature can do. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting layering, cool find and shot!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. bluebrightly says:

    I didn’t know that about tinder, nor about the iceman having a piece. That’s a great photo, too, with the colors matching but the textures contrasting.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann Mackay says:

    Made me grin ‘cos ‘conk’ is slang for nose here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. shoreacres says:

    I grew up with the expression about getting ‘conked in the head.’ Now I’m wondering if, way back when, people were using these as weapons: literally, perhaps metaphorically.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. melody says:

    I couldn’t seem to reply above. Thanks for the article on fungal intelligence, Steve–it wasn’t the one I read years ago, which was about Stamets’ personal search in Oregon old growth for a certain conk mushrooom (maybe agrikon?), but I enjoyed reading the info on fungus and mycelium in the one you linked to. Humans: seems like we coulda made a big mistake inserting ourselves at the top of the evolutionary tree–

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s