hastingshippies's picture

White filament fungi?

Observed: 20th January 2013 By: hastingshippies
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Description:

Hi, just returned from a holiday on Dartmoor where we found this strange growth on birch twigs on the ground. There was quite a lot of it spread around a small area of woodland. It was snowing and very cold. I couldn't see it growing on the trees. Thanks for looking.

Identifications

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Some fungi are very poisonous so a mistaken ID could have serious consequences.

  • ice crystals
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
    ID agreements (): 2 People
    • ThistleThistle’s reputation in Fungi and LichensThistle’s reputation in Fungi and LichensThistle’s reputation in Fungi and LichensThistle’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
    • Bogey the FungusmanBogey the Fungusman’s reputation in Fungi and LichensBogey the Fungusman’s reputation in Fungi and LichensBogey the Fungusman’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
  •  
    Likely ID
    Ice Flower (Dihydrogen oxide)
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
    ID agreements (): 4 People
    • martinjohnbishopmartinjohnbishop’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensmartinjohnbishop’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensmartinjohnbishop’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensmartinjohnbishop’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
    • flaxtonflaxton’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensflaxton’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensflaxton’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensflaxton’s reputation in Fungi and Lichensflaxton’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
    • FenwickfieldFenwickfield’s reputation in Fungi and LichensFenwickfield’s reputation in Fungi and LichensFenwickfield’s reputation in Fungi and LichensFenwickfield’s reputation in Fungi and LichensFenwickfield’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
    • D.M.H.D.M.H.’s reputation in Fungi and LichensD.M.H.’s reputation in Fungi and LichensD.M.H.’s reputation in Fungi and LichensD.M.H.’s reputation in Fungi and Lichens
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Willskip's picture

White filament fungi?

I think this is actually ice/frost. I have seen the same thing myself and thought it was Fungi. However when touching it, it turned out to be ice.
The fact that it was very cold suggests that it was ice.
Did you try touching it?
I have seen an explanation why it appears like this but can't find it at the moment.
Sometimes called 'Ice Flowers'
Bill

hastingshippies's picture

Ice flower

Thanks Bill, that sounds feasible. Actually my partner said, "some kind of mix between fungi and frost." (I thought she was nuts)
It was very fragile and broke away easily to the touch but it didn't melt even when I took some inside to show my partner. I returned the piece I had taken to the place I had taken it from and could see no damage. I didn't try to melt it.
It stayed in situ for at least two days.
It was specific to the birch. It seemed to be growing from beneath the bark and displaced the bark although that would happen if it was a product of the moisture in the wood. There were little white specks amongst the hairs that I took to be some kind of spores evident in the last two pictures.
I have got a lot more pictures, I'll look over them again. Thanks for your help. Colin.

Amadan's picture

Freeze-dried?

I'm wondering if a substrate - such as a filamentous fungus - has effectively been freeze-dried by frost. That would explain its stability when brought into a warmer environment. It would also account for the fragility.

hastingshippies's picture

Hair ice

Thanks Amadan. Following up Bill's lead about ice flowers I found this page my.ilstu.edu~jrcarter/ice/radio/
Fig. 6 looks exactly like my subject. He says that hair ice is related to the presence of a fungus. I would like to try and find out a little more.

jhn7's picture

Beautiful and strange

If people agree with my added identification you will see other observations and discussions concerning this ethereal effect.

Janet
Certificate in Contemporary Science (Open)

hastingshippies's picture

Hair ice

And..following that lead I found this
epod.usra.edu/blog/2010/02/hair-ice.html
(Sorry, I can't remember how to HTML these into links) Anyway that's my baby. I shall contact Dr Carter, send him some pics and see what I can find out. Thanks.

gramandy's picture

apologise...

...didn't scroll down to all the comments. Already sussed by everyone - ooops.

hastingshippies's picture

Dihydrogen oxide

Thanks everybody for your help.
Colin