Hapalopilus croceus

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While hiking in the Cuyahoga River Valley, I noticed the orange glow of Hapalopilus croceus (this fungus has no common name) displaying its brilliant color.

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I have never encountered (or heard of) this organism before, so it was an unexpected find. This is a rather uncommon fungus found in Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America. Hapalopilus croceus is nationally red-listed (threatened) in 11 European countries.

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When fresh, this mushroom has a vibrant orange color, but it tends to fade or brown with age. This conspicuous wood-inhabiting fungus has habitat confined to wooded meadows and pastures.

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The stalkless, broadly attached, fan-shaped fruiting body has a colorful cap and grows on decaying broadleaf wood, especially fallen Oaks.

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Like its polypore relatives, Hapalopilus croceus contributes a crucial role in nature’s continuous rebirth, by breaking down dead wood and turning it into useful nutrients.

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Fungi digest their food outside their bodies by releasing enzymes into the surrounding environment and converting organic matter into a form they can absorb; nothing else is able to perform the function of reducing dead wood back down into soil.

Third Eye Herp

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