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Bursting soon

Puffball fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

This small islet was a treasure trove of fungi species, and I wonder how many species will come out of the ground and rotten wood as the wet season progresses. I visited at the beginning of the season and had such a great time here. I had left behind the best fungi season in decades back home in Norway, which seemingly would never end, and finding so many species here made up for my feeling of missing out.

As with the other species I have share with you from this islet so far this one had many specimens in all stages, but I find this stage the most beautiful as it is at its very vital and beautiful stage - ready to burst and then decay as it spews out the huge amount of spores. You can see more specimens on the way at the base of it – the brown lump that looks like wet soil.

Such diversity of fungi is a great sign of a healthy environment where this diversity is able to fully complete the life cycles. The amazing thing is that this is on such a tiny piece of land!

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 20 October 2017 07:57
Altitude: 4 meters

#fungi #mushrooms #principe #bombom

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Stretch marks

Fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

I had many amazing moments on the forest floor of Bom Bom islet as there were so many fungi species with beautiful specimens.

Some were very hard to spot as they blended in so well with their surroundings, and this one has a beautiful cap of cracks creating a pattern that makes it blend in with the roots in which it is growing.

The pattern made me think of cracked porcelain, raising dough and stretch marks, and the latter two is what we see here. As it continues to grow the darker areas will be further apart and it will get a brighter appearance and be more visible against the surroundings.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 19 October 2017 15:58
Altitude: 40 meters

#fungi #mushrooms #principe #bombom

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Blending in

Fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

With the very same color as the decaying leaves on the ground this is a species that is easily missed, even though it is quite large.

I encountered many brightly colored fungi species on this islet, some were magnets to insects, but this one is very different and also was free from insect bites.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 19 October 2017 15:06
Altitude: 40 meters

#fungi #mushrooms #principe #bombom

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Confusion

Spreading cotoneaster (Cotoneaster divaricatus)

Svartskog, Norway

Of all the specimens in their autumn colors and full of small red berries, one was very confused as it was dotted with flower buds and open flowers!

What made this specific plant decide to produce flowers now? What is so different with this particular plant? It is growing with many of its kind right next to it, but has a very different response to the autumn.

Yet it is not as uncommon as one might think – at least with some species! Every autumn I find honeysuckles producing flowers, and the harebell also with flowers and buds, but I don’t remember if it was like this when I was a kid.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 11 November 2017 14:31
Altitude: 8 meters

#flowers #leaves #plants #autumn #svartskog #norway

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Irresistible to some

Fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

The limited land of this islet holds surprisingly many species of fungi and I was captivated!

The previous day I noticed this mushroom, but decided to pass as it looked damage by the root. But today I decided to stop and take a closer look only to find that it was not damaged, but coming out of the root, and in pristine condition. Not only that but also that it was inundated by insects crawling amongst the gills, making it quite impossible to get a clean capture of just the mushroom.

For some reason this particular species was a magnet to one species of insects and they were crawling in between the gills as if drawn in by an irresistible scent, but they were not eating from the mushroom.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 19 October 14:30
Altitude: 36 meters

#fungi #mushrooms #principe #bombom

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Fire and ice

Spreading cotoneaster (Cotoneaster divaricatus)

Svartskog, Norway

Frost has been on hold for several weeks, but lately the nights have been clear and without any wind and thus winter is creeping ever closer as the nights keep getting colder for longer.
In a post a couple of days ago I was sharing my hope to encounter beautifully frosted plants, and today I was not disappointed.

Although frost is truly wonderful wherever it emerges it is particularly striking when forming of plants that are still holding the last iotas of summer in the form of foliage and even flowers that the frost has trapped in a beautiful cold frame.

For decades this plant species has been promoted by garden centers and gardeners alike as they are such reliable sources of incredible autumn colors and when all the foliage is gone they still stand out as they carry large numbers of red berries. Unfortunately that is one of several examples of misguided introductions of foreign species that is now black-listed in Norway and wherever it has been introduced as it is spreading uncontrollably and in suppressing the local and endemic species. The berries are perfectly sized for birds of all sizes which has ensured its incredible distribution. On my property it is absolutely everywhere, but only in autumn can you truly see how it is growing everywhere, as it outshines all other species that have already lost their foliage.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 12 November 2017 13:42
Altitude: 8 meters

#leaves #plants #autumn #fall #frost #svartskog #norway

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A misty day

Perfoliate honeysuckle (Lonicera caprifolium)

Svartskog, Norway

Winter is right around the corner but there has barely been any frost at night so far, so damage to foliage is mostly absent and the moist in the air accumulates as water droplets when there is no wind as was the case this day.

Most of the foliage is now on the ground, but here and there are green leaves where the plant has had a spurt of growth very late in the season. The cold days ensures they stay green until they are taken out by the frost. And when the frost does come I hope to find amazing ice and frost formations on the plants.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 07 November 2017 14:57
Altitude: 8 meters

#leaves #plants #svartskog #norway

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Tiny but significant

Fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

There are so many species of fungi we never see due to their miniscule size, and this is one example of being small.

It's not growing on a log or branch, but at the end of a leaf stalk – the petiole. Once this end was attached to the branch of a tree and now the leaf is being transformed by a various fungi, insects and earthworms so that its components once again can be utilized by plants.

Even though I was lying flat on the ground and using the camera display to zoom in I did not notice the amazing droplets high on the stalk.

Most enjoy the forest as a locale for hiking and being constantly in motion - reaching a destination, and perhaps more interested in getting in shape and discussing topics of interest far from what is around them. Instead one could enjoy all that is around if one just takes a breather - literally. A deep inhale to welcome the life around you, and a deep exhale to thank existence for the life given to us for free.

By doing so you will notice the rhythm of life – the songs of birds from the canopy, butterflies and moths passing by, insects of all shapes and sizes, noticing the sounds of fruits falling to the ground, the rustling of the foliage in the wind.

My locale for this session was amongst the fallen leaves, and I found so many species of fungi I would never have seen if I was walking and in constant motion.

I did find even smaller mushrooms on leaves, but they were so tiny I would need different equipment with much greater magnification to get a good capture.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 20 October 2017 08:38
Altitude: 17 meters

#fungi #mushrooms #principe #bombom

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The red one

Gilled fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

The color palette of the fungi I encountered on the Bom Bom islet was surprisingly diverse and this species made me think of the colorful Russula fungi I enjoyed back home just before this trip.

I found many specimens of this species on this small islet which is a good sign of a healthy ecosystem. It appeared to prefer dead wood, and is here seen growing out of a small branch on the forest floor.

I have no idea whether or not it is edible, but the local insects and slugs most definitely think so!

As I visited during the beginning of the wet season I would suspect many more fungi to come out in the coming weeks.

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 19 October 2017 16:25
Altitude: 48 meters

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The art of recycling

Fungus, unknown species

Bom Bom Islet, Principe

In healthy forests where all parts of the life cycle is intact, you may see a wide variety of fungi. Some barely visible to the eye, others so colorful you cannot miss them. Some mushrooms come out of the ground while other species, like this one, grow on dead wood and are transforming the cellulose to elements that new growth can utilize.

This species was very common in this forest, as the forest floor was littered with dead branches, which seemed to be the preferred host, opposed to the many fallen trees here. Another sign of a healthy forest was the high number of fruit eating birds here.

What’s amazing is that this is a tiny islet in the Atlantic ocean in the Gulf of Guinea – you walk around it in 30-40minutes! It gives an idea of the incredible diversity that has existed on all islands before humans arrived and converted them to their needs.

Although the islet is owned privately and houses the restaurant and kitchen of the hotel with the same name, it is protected and part of UNESCO's Island of Príncipe Biosphere Reserve.

One day I wanted to look at the forest on Principe just east of the islet, which looks equally lush from the ocean, but I immediately realized the forest was second growth and mostly contained trees of similar age. Thus there was not a single dead branch or tree on the forest floor, and consequently not a single mushroom to be found! The forest would not reach the recycling stage for many, many years to come, and so diversity would be on hold until the circle of life once more would be whole.

Lucky for me, the best forest was just next to my hotel room, and I had many wonderful walks to this precious mini forest, and in a way I was both surprised and very happy, as I felt I had to leave a once in a lifetime festival of fungi in Norway that seemed to never end (and is to date still ongoing, one month later, which is just beyond amazing).

Image Copyright © 2017 +Morten Ross
Image Capture Date: 17 October 2017 16:38
Altitude: 23 meters

#fungi #mushrooms #principe #bombom

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