When you train as an arborist, you start realizing how cross-disciplinary the profession is: laws and planning, tree identification and establishment, land management and ecology, tree biology and plant pathology, biomechanics and decay, are just some of the many facets of looking after trees.
You must, at some point, dip into the world of fungi. When I say 'world' I mean ‘too big to comprehend.’ Fungi is a massive taxonomic kingdom and easy to get lost within because of its large size and because it is a world of many wonders. While it's hard enough to identify similar looking trees and shrubs, the fungal kingdom supplies an almost insurmountable challenge for those that start to take a real interest in what species are out there.
Who doesn't love finding a massive fungal fruiting body? In my area, the typical eye-catching fungus you are going to find is Dryad's Saddle (Cerioporus squamosus), Artist fungus (Gandoderma), and large orange clusters of Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus).
How would we get on without fungi? No bread, no beer, no fizzy drinks, no stilton cheese and obviously no sautéed mushrooms with steak. Enjoy those macro-fungi when you can. They are just a fleeting phase in the reduction of a tree back to soil.
Pictured are some of my photos collected over the years of various fungi sticking out of a tree.