Thelephora terrestris: the earth fan

If you trudge across heathland or through conifer woods in the late summer through to early winter you may well encounter this fairly common fungus, the earth fan (Thelephora terrestris). It is faily common according to my  reference book but I have only ever found it once but it is easily missed because the 'fans' can look just like dead leaves and in any event it always look like a dead, unidentifiable fungus! The dull brown withered appearance does give the impression they are past their best! 
This is a bit of an unusual species though as it is actually a bracket type of fungus and one usually associates brackets with dead trees and stumps so to find one growing on the ground and out of earth is not what one expects. They are not actually growing out of the soil, however, there is always some buried dead wood underneath them.
They are not edible but then they look very dry and withered I am sure no one would fancy trying them anyway!
Thelephora terrestris: the earth fan

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