Seen on the nature trail….

Vero Beach is home to the Greenway, a 3mi. nature trail that loops through oak forests and wetlands alongside the Indian River Lagoon.  While walking there Sunday, I photo-graphed an oak log totally covered in mushroom-like growths. Trametes versicolor on oak log, Lagoon Greenway, 11/17/13When I got home, I ran straight to Google ➡ turns out I’d seen Trametes versicolor, a polypore (bracket fungus) seen mostly on sick or decaying hardwood trees.  In the next photo, you’ll see why this fungi’s fruiting body is commonly called “Turkey Tail:” Ball moss atop  T. versicolor fungi, Lagoon Greenway, 11/17/2013 T. versicolor’s banding pattern resembles the tail of a strutting turkey!  Most are dark to light brown, alternating with light colored bands of white to tan, with still more bands of blue, gray, orange or maroon. They can be strikingly beautiful, and are among the fungi most easily observed in the wild. Unlike their mushroom “cousins” that disappear quickly, Turkey Tails are leathery and long-lived, with some shelves lasting an entire year.

In addition to being a prolific fruiter, T. versicolor is found in every state of the U.S. and almost every region of the world, including Siberia.  Traditional Asian medicine has long used this fungus in the fight against cancer by extracting polysaccharide K (PSK) and polysaccharide-peptide (PSP) from the fruiting bodies. Studies show both substances boost cancer patients’ immune systems when used in conjunction with traditional medicine, sometimes doubling life expectancy!  Research is ongoing.

To learn more about this Thanksgiving themed fungus, visit

Until next time…. Eat-Beef-Turkey

11 thoughts on “Seen on the nature trail….

  1. Thank you for all that info. I always see them very often while in the woods, but never knew the name of it. Interesting also about the cancer research.

  2. They are pretty little fans, aren’t they? At first I wondered whether the fungi had brought about the death of the tree, but I see that the poor thing was struggling before they took hold! Isn’t nature efficient? 🙂

  3. Yup, thanks for sharing ….Great pics , must look for this fungus here in my own territory out west just in case I may be ill one day..Not getting any younger 😀 ….Research got me to skin cream recipe and some internal uses also.

  4. Very pretty fungus. We have a fungus similar to that growing on one of our dying Oaks. I am going to take a closer look at it. When it stops raining. I am wondering if it is still there with the couple of freezes we have had.

    • Thank you!
      I’m somewhat new to Florida (4 yrs next month!) and every day i have to pinch myself when I wake up to palm trees and nice weather! I moved here from Massachusetts where it’s grey and cold 9mos of the year so this seems like paradise to me!

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