Please ID what is growing around this Oak tree
This looks like moss. Please see the information at this link: https://pestid.msu.edu/weeds-and-plant-identification/mosses-division-bryophyta/.
Thanks for your response, he was wondering what the white things poking out of the ground were. Sorry I should have been more clear. They are a few inches high. If a better photo is needed I can contact him, this was what he had on him when he came in the office.
"Duh!" on my part. I'm wondering if that is the beginning growth of the fruiting bodies of a fungus growing in the oak tree roots. Do you think he would be willing to try to pull/dig a few out and send a photo? If they are growing out of the tree root, they will be difficult to pull (or break off) and he will only get stem...no roots. If this is what they are, they are also probably larger and better formed now.
In the meantime, I'll see what I can find based on this photo now that I'm looking at the right part of it.
Just wondering if you were ever provided with additional photos or a sample of this growth.
I've shared the photo with several colleagues and all concur with your assessment that it's a fungus of some sort. No one could definitively identify it from the photo provided.
The first question is whether it's growing out of the root mass of the tree or simply in the litter around the base. If growing in the litter, it's largely cosmetic. If it's coming out of the roots, the tree should be examined to determine if its stability has been compromised.
A different colleague (Laura Sheffer) saw this post late yesterday and identified the fungus in question as "Dead Man's Fingers". The article at this link provides additional information about the fungus:
This link shows photos of immature fruiting bodies that look similar to the photo you sent: http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/f2012/meyer_doug/classification.htm
Thank you for your help Laura!
Thank you Becky and Laura! I asked for more pictures but did not receive them. I will forward all of the information that you gave to him. Thanks again!