big fungus

When we got home this evening, we spotted this fungus on one of the oak trees i our front yard. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it’s about two feet wide! There were three others, one almost as big, as well. It’s probably a laetiporus sulphureus, a.k.a. Chicken of the Woods. Some people think it’s rather good eating, though it apparently has a very strong “fungusy” taste and some people have adverse reactions to it. There also seem to be some hints that it might indicate a rot problem, but most sites say nothing about that and the tree is clearly in excellent health so I’m not inclined to worry. I’m also not inclined to eat it, and not just because I’m too lazy to get out the ladder (it’s about 25′ off the ground).

I know it’s not a great picture, BTW, but I’m pleased that I was able to get one even this good. That’s at 8x zoom (2x optical, 4x digital – and digital zoom generally sucks) without any support other than my hand. I used XnView to adjust the color and contrast, and the “enhance focus” filter (another thing that generally sucks) actually worked too. All in all it worked out very well, I think.