Field of Science

Much rooms

June was the 5th wettest on record, most because of a couple of inches of rain right at the end of the month. The gardens, new plants, and some replants got plenty of water, and the lily pond even had to be drained a little. Wish it could be kept for later. Of course, our gardens have lots of mulch, which means lots of nice organic material to decompose, so the fungi have been busy too. The shredded wood mulch has provided us with some nice fungal fruiting bodies. Remember, the fungal organism is a filamentous mycelium, and sometimes you forget they are present except when the reproductive structures appear, and appear they have. Lots of areas have bird nest fungi by the hundreds, little cups with little egg shaped packets of spores (probably a species of Cyathus, but not exactly the species shown). The cups cause rain drops to rebound dispersing the packets of spores. 
Some Boletus bicolor, the two-colored bolete, have appeared here and there. They have a rusty red cap and yellow spongy looking pores beneath. When bruised they turn a green-blue color, and they are edible. A large mushroom has appeared in several places and it has a creamy-white cap, white gills, a veil around the stem, and a cup-like bulbous base.  OK, that's not a good combination and not a good bet for trying its edibility; most likely suspect is Amanita bisporigera, the so-called destroying angel. Most interesting of the recent appearances, and most curious, has been dog phallus stinkhorns (Mutinus caninus), which tells you pretty much what these look like, a red-orange phallus. Mutinus was a phallic deity for somebody.  The muddy-brown spore mass is wet, and the odor attracts flies to disperse the spores. Most fungal spores are dispersed by wind. There was a time when TPP was very good at fungus identification, but it's a secondary subject for him and he hasn't taught mycology in about 20 years, so you lose your edge.
  Images courtesy of madjack74 and Roberto Zanon (respectively), wikimedia creative commons).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice. No doubt the "intelligent designer" had to tinker endlessly to get those little splash cups shaped just right.