Fungi – Nature’s Earth Flowers

I have been spending time up in the mountain rainforests of Lamington and Nightcap National Parks. With the recent rains fungi in all its brilliant colours and forms are proliferating on the forest floor and on rotting tree trunks.

Below are a look at some of these beautiful organisms that help recycle organic matter in our rainforests.

Nightcap National Park
Observing closely an old palm tree stump reveals another almost alien world inhabited by strange fungi.
Bracket fungi come in brilliant hues adding a shock of colour to shadowy forest floor. Feeding off a decaying tree trunk their intricate pattern looks like growth rings of their host.

It’s the little details I love. How to fletch your arrows with owl feathers, because owls fly silently, so maybe your arrows will, too. How to carry fire in a piece of smouldering fungus wrapped in birchbark. These are the things which help a world come alive.

Michelle Paver

Rotting tree trunks are places where fungi meet.

I find when I walk slowly through a forest and allowing my senses to be fully engaged with the surroundings then the forest opens up and greets me with its hidden treasures.

Fungi – the forest’s great recyclers.
This fungi is a beauty. It is commonly known as a bridal veil stinkhorn. It is beauty is no match for its pungent stench of decaying flesh. A rare find.

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

Henry David Thoreau
Like jewels in the darkness, fungi remind me that when I slow down the forest reveals its precious jewels.
When we slow down long enough we discover a world of the miniature where fairies dwell taking shelter amongst the fungbrellas.

Within the darkest reaches beauty flourishes. It is in the shadows that we can discover that not all that dwells there we need to fear.

This is one of my favourite fungi in the forest – the earth star. Like a star in the dark night of the forest floor, these beauties have an opening so that when you press their semi-circular centre a puff of spores is released.
A ruby red bracket fungus. The radiating patterns remind me of a semi-precious geode that had been cut open.

There is beauty even in our darkest places.

David Cuschieri
This fungus was soft and jellyfish like and reminded me of the 50s sci-fi films filmed with goo and slime. Maybe they took inspiration from our natural world?
Feeding off fallen trees, in time, some fungi begin to look and feel as if they are part of the organism it fed on.

I always find that walking in nature is a tonic for my soul. Walking in silence. Sitting still surrounded by the Earth’s richness I cannot but help to reddiscover deep gratitude that had always been there. Sometimes the best medicine for life’s challenges is a quiet walk in nature.

Even in the dark corners of the forest there are bright constellations that remind us that there are many worlds to explore.
Like burnt buds on a tree, some fungi seem to imitate their hosts.
It is easy to just stand there for moments at a time looking at the kaleidoscope of colour in some fungi.
Fungi come in all shapes and sizes. This one is still quite modest compared to some bracket fungi I have seen in the past.
There are galaxies to discover within the infinitesimal.
Puff the magic fungi lives by the leaves.

We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomable. We can never have enough nature.

Henry David Thoreau
Dainty as a daffodil, delicate as a snowflake amongst the forest leaf litter.
A vivid flash of colour, like blooming flowers in the shadowy depths of the forest.
There are wild oceans on land where coral grows.

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

David Henry Thoreau
Forest still life.
Within the darkness lay meadows filled with vibrant hope.
Slow down a sit still you may just see the forest fairies appear.
Like butterflies landing by the edge of a pool to drink, these fungi gain sustenance from fallen giants, returning the nutrients back to the forest to bring forth new life.
Beautiful snowflakes quietly growing.
New life springs forth.
Fallen leaves and fungi.
Black coral in the rainforest.
Like antennae or tentacles. Beneath the forest floor a massive network of fungi know as mycorrhizal fungi connect roots of plants into an underground communication and resource network.

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