I generally like to see various fungi on the ground but this is not one of them, especially when it is in our front yard. We had a large native thorn-less honeylocust tree when we moved into our new house in 1973. Over the years it has provided shade and served as a perch for many different birds. Now these are appearing on the exposed roots.
Mark Bower confirmed that this is Ganoderma sessile, a parasitic fungus on hardwoods. Species names get dicey as they frequently change or get reassigned by DNA. As some have suggested, naming a new species is frequently making a species hypothesis. In this case a related species Ganoderma curtisii looks somewhat like it.
Our tree has been struggling in its urban setting for years It was growing on a thin layer of soil before we came, its roots extending well beyond the diameter of the crown. First the street and then our house and driveway construction constrained the root expansion. Next a sweetgum was planted to the south that slowly encroached on its sun. It grew anyway, loyally providing afternoon shade to the house.
|Ganoderma - Mole's eye view|
|Shallow soil, uprooted trees|
The tree shaded us for over 40 years, reducing air conditioning bills and providing a refuge for squirrels. Now with the tree gone, Ganoderma will continue its role of saprophyte, converting the remaining roots into soil nutrients to feed the tree we will be planting soon.