Sunday, 7 June 2009

Dryads

Walking along the old railway line near Osborne's Pond a few weeks ago, we came across a large fungus growing out of the bottom of a tree near to the path.

Known as a Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus), it got me thinking what is a Dryad? An why would one need a saddle? Well it turns out, a Dryad is a tree nymph, particularly of Oak trees but often associated with all trees. In this case, the Dryads were connected with an old Birch Tree stump.

So, The Dryad's Saddle fungus relates to these diminutive Greek Deities who are small enough to sit on them, thus a saddle! Although this particular specimen was being sat on by dozens of small flies rather than tree nymphs.
The Fungus is also known a s a Pheasants Back because of the pattern of brown markings on the top which supposedly resemble the feathers of that bird.
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