Fungi in the Tsitsikamma forest

The Big Tree is one of the Tsitsikamma's most iconic attractions. To get to this 1000-year-old Outeniqua Yellowwood tree you have to walk about 500 meters through the forest on a wooden boardwalk. It takes you less than 10 minutes to get to the tree. Unless you're there on a quiet day with no other visitors around and you keep an eye out for interesting little tidbits next to the path. I did just that on my last visit, with…

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Forest scenes and senses from the Tsitsikamma

The Tsitsikamma is famous for its stunning scenery, magnificent forests and exciting adventures.  I often wonder how many people visit here and marvel at the big things but totally miss the little ones.  Ferns with new leaves opening up, soft moss growing on a rock, bracket fungus on the side of a log, the sound of a forest stream slowly flowing through the underbrush and over a little waterfall and the call of baboons in the distance.  What about the sound of the…


Brown bracket

Although orange bracket fungus are easily spotted in the indigenous forests of the Tsitsikamma there are a number of less brightly coloured bracket fungus that can be spotted growing on mostly dead trees as well.  In this case I found this branch full of a light brown bracket.  Its because of things like these that I should just be left to walk through the forest on my own to explore and take photos without being rushed by the rest of…


Orange bracket fungus

Walking through the Tsitsikamma forest you see shades of green, brown and grey, but every now and then there is a bright flash. The red from under the wing of a Knysna Loerie gliding from branch to branch, a tiny colourful flower or an orange bracket fungus growing on a piece of dead wood.    


Hyobanche sanguina

I get very excited when I find something new and hiking along the Guinea Fowl Trail in Port Elizabeth the other day was one of those exciting days.  I saw Hyobanche Sanguina, commonly known as Cat's Paw, for the first time.  Cat's Paw is a parasitic plant which grows on the roots of shrubs.  The clustered red flower reaches about 150 mm in height and it's soft furriness along with the protruding white anthers forming the characteristic cat's nails gives it it's…


Orange Lacquered Bracket

I was at a Christmas party over the weekend and found these Lacquered Bracket fungi growing on tree stumps lying in the garden at the venue.  They grow up to 500 mm in diameter and is found either singly or in groups.They are corky in texture when young, but turn woody when they mature and is found in Summer and Autumn.


Ink Cap Mushroom

The other day after some rain a lone Ink Cap Mushroom popped up in the backyard. It's named such because the blackened mushrooms were boiled in water with cloves to produce ink in the early days. The mushroom has a white skin with tan coloring across its shaggy looking outer flesh. Just after it appears, the cap is still closed and has an oval shape like a closed umbrella. As the oval grows and spreads out, the mushroom begins to…


Decaying branch

I am always amazed at the wonders of nature, specially when finding bracket fungus somewhere in a forested area. Bracket fungus plays such an important roll in the forest's circle of life. It helps to decompose wood which get fed back into the soil to add nutrients to it. And of cause it makes for very interesting photographs, specially when its brightly coloured like the ones in the picture.