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I photographed this weird looking fungus growing out of an open cut in a tree (not sure what type of tree it was) on my parent's property last weekend in central Texas after some heavy rain. The mushroom was dark brown on top, with orange-colored fringes that seeped with this honey-like substance. Under the mushroom was a mass of swirled material with a woody appearance, though I suspect it was part the same or perhaps a different fungus.

Mushroom Wat

I don't know too much about mushrooms. The 'bleeding' around the edges of the mushroom reminds me of Hydnellum peckii or ferrugineum, but it lacks the 'teeth' on the underside of the mushroom (you can see that it's fairly smooth in the top part of the second image). The coloration and general shape reminds me of Phaeolus schweinitzii, but I don't know if that species can produce this kind of 'sap'. Can anyone help me identify what kind of mushroom this is? And what is the swirled material below it?

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I don't know which fungus it is, but there are bracket fungii which exude amber coloured droplets (Shaggy Bracket, Oak Bracket fungus) although this one doesn't look like either of those. Trees, when they're infected, can also produce amber coloured droplets - sometimes they stink because its a bacterial infection, sometimes there's no smell at all, so it could be the tree is exuding this and it just happens to be coming out over the fungus.

The woody looking material most closely resembles a swirled burl - something highly prized by wood workers, and if that's what it is (you need to poke it, see if its hard and woody or not) then its one of the most attractive ones I've ever seen. Burls are formed in response to something which causes the tree's cell's to grow in a haywire fashion - the presence of disease of some sort might cause it, and the existence of the bracket fungus suggests this might have been the case.

However, the most important thing is, if the tree on which this is growing is anywhere near a structure or building, or people walk there often, it should be cut down and removed - bracket fungus of any sort spells death, and there is a high risk of the tree suddenly coming down.

  • Very interesting. It definitely has a strong resemblance to the oak bracket (Inonotus dryadeus). The tree is not in a position to cause any structural damage, but do you know if this fungus is likely to spread to nearby trees? – p.s.w.g Oct 30 '15 at 15:23
  • Only if nearby trees are sick or weak already - it doesn't usually appear on healthy, strong trees, even if they're temporarily damaged, they have a chemical response which wards off fungal infection. Regarding this tree, bear in mind the heartwood damage will have been going on for some time before this fungus appeared, so it will be quite weak and may fall suddenly ON someone! – Bamboo Oct 30 '15 at 15:40
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    If that's actually a burl though, worth getting the people who take the tree down to cut it out to keep, its highly ornamental. If you don't, they'll keep it themselves and try to sell it on, if they can be bothered. – Bamboo Oct 30 '15 at 15:56
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    I might buy the burl from you, if that's what it is and you do have the tree removed. They're absolutely gorgeous (google image it!), makes for great coffee tables or nightstands, etc. – AndrewG Oct 31 '15 at 1:19
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    In that case, you might want to talk to a wood-turner (I don't do turning, but know a few, and they love burls.) It could probably be made into a tiny bowl or platter or something. – AndrewG Nov 1 '15 at 22:50

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