, , , , ,

Did you play pick-up sticks as a child? Do you still play it, perhaps with your own children or your grandies? Well, I play pick-up sticks quite often too, but not quite the way you might imagine. You see I pick up sticks sometimes to find out what’s scurrying around underneath them or, especially at this rather moist time of year, to see what might be growing on them.


You might’ve looked at this first stick lying on the ground in my local woodland and thought, ‘Nah! Nothing on that’ but you would’ve been wrong …


… because if you had looked closer …


… a little bit closer, you would’ve seen this! Isn’t it gorgeous? This oozing mass of loveliness is a fungus, the Bleeding broadleaf crust fungus (Stereum rugosum) to be precise.


I admit that I can sometimes spend an hour or more, bending down and examining stick after stick and finding nothing but, when I discover little gems like this, they make the effort totally worthwhile. So, next time you go to the woods, try playing a little game of pick-up sticks. You might get a pleasant surprise! (Oh, and take tissues or wet wipes, as you’ll almost certainly get a bit dirty, as well.)