It is rapidly approaching that time of year again when the Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) awaken from their fitful slumber and begin to stir deep inside their decaying host. From small, unassuming beginnings this fungus gradually blossoms into a woodland behemoth, often obtaining epic proportions. They are edible but best enjoyed when they are young.
The specimen in these photos was a majestic sight whose appearance I welcomed each year like that of an old friend. Often I would pass the time of day with it and tell it the tales of the woodland or news it may have missed during its dormancy. If it was interested or merely irritated by my presence it was difficult to tell, as it so often is with mushrooms. Then, as the days passed I would watch my friend slowly wither and fade to black, its spore set and a job well done for another year.
Sadly, this year I will be unable to renew old acquaintance. Upon returning to its location it seems that some bastard has sawn up its tree trunk home and taken it back for firewood or some other such purpose! Is nothing sacred?
Farewell old friend, it was a pleasure and you brought immense joy to my woodland rambles for many years; may your memory live for evermore in some bright corner of the internet.