One thing I love about nature walks is that you can head out looking for one thing (in this case May Apples) and stumble across something completely different. I was puzzled recently when we came across a fallen log that was stained an attention grabbing blue-green. Don’t you love the contrast between the yellow lichen and the bluish wood?
As soon as we were home, I looked up what was causing this odd coloring. I found that this blue-green stained wood is caused by green stain fungi, appropriately named because the fungi stain wood bluish-green. There are two very similar strains, Chlorociboria aeruginascens and Chlorociboria aeruginosa. Another (easier to remember) name for the fungi is green elf cup.
This green-stained wood has been highly prized in some parts of the world. It has been discovered that Italian Renaissance artists used it in their intricate wooden designs as far back as the 14th century.
The fruiting bodies are produced in summer and fall but are rarely seen. I’m sure we’ll be visiting our small patch of blue-green stained wood often to see if we can find them.
Update: We Finally Found the Fruiting Bodies of the Green Stain Fungi.
After visiting the spot frequently over a 17-month period, we were finally able to find the fruiting bodies. I think they look a little bit like something from another planet. They are also very tiny, so you need to look carefully to find them.
Have you ever seen this fungus before?