In an earlier post of mine, I referenced some unusual amber droplets collecting within and around some type of shelf / bracket fungus on a tree stump. Here’s a few shots of the stump and the full fungal growth. There is a discernible line of clear droplets forming underneath many of the fruiting bodies, with amber droplets forming both above and below the fruiting body. It appears this is a common characteristic in many types of shelf / bracket fungi, but I still haven’t found a description of the function of the droplets or what causes the fungi to exude them. It is rather interesting to observe, though I made no attempt to poke, touch, smell or otherwise interact with the sappy substance besides photographing it.
I wonder if the fungus is exuding actual tree sap because many of these fungi are parasitic. In other cases, they grow on trees that have already fallen or died, so it works both ways. A wikipedia entry about shelf fungus mentions the following “They can also be used as a wick in an oil/fat lamp. Use a shell, turtle shell, or non-burning oil/fat container. Prop fungus up using three little rocks. Place oil or fat in container. Once Bracket Fungus turns black and has absorbed oil it is ready to light.” So they are able to absorb liquid/oil meaning the droplets they produce could be water or sap or perhaps some component of the phloem of the tree that they are absorbing? I think I still have more questions then answers. 😉