Trip Report – Cattermole Creek Trail, Squamish Estuary, Sunday, October 29, 2017 

What a beautiful fall morning this was, with the warm wind tossing around the dry, bright yellow maple leaves and others.  Carl took close-up photos of a variety of fungi, and also insects and spiders very busy in the rotting tree stumps: we found there deep and very soft, textured remains of the rotten wood they had eaten.  Photos like these will be much welcomed for the Biodiversity Squamish project .

Three references that bring you in touch with others curious about fungi are:

Caroline joined us just before we reached the familiar huge burl on the Sitka spruce.

Although fungi can be the cause for burls on some tree species, this may not be true for Sitka spruce. Alaska Forest Service research forest pathologist Paul Hennon has some thoughts on this question. “On spruce, the short answer is that we don’t know. Something initially triggers the tree hormones to cause rapid cell division and uncontrollable growth (not unlike cancer), but it does not appear to be a biological agent. The burls don’t spread. I’m pretty sure it’s some sort of an irritant that starts it. But I can think of at least one place I’ve been that there is a stand of them … it makes you wonder.”

From Sedam, Michael T. (2002). The Olympic Peninsula: The Grace & Grandeur, “Damage to the tip or the bud of a Sitka spruce causes the growth cells to divide more rapidly than normal to form this swelling or burl. Even though the burls may look menacing, they do not affect the overall tree growth.”

Submitted by Judith Holm

Photo above by Judith Holm: Carl fotographing fungi.