Posts Tagged 'fungus'
Tags: Brooklyn, fungus, Green-Wood, mushrooms
Water spilling off a tree stump had coated and frozen around these mushrooms, giving them a glaze. I believe they may be Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus), or another Pleurotus species. The gills make a pleasing pattern:
That mushroom I photographed in October growing on this wooden fence was still there last week, looking rather lurid now.
Tags: fungus, mushrooms
Inexplicably, there will be few fungus costumes today, just as in Halloweens past. And that’s a shame. Fascinating, ubiquitous, vitally important in the plant’s interconnected systems, fungi are a high-level rank of life, a kingdom, up there with plants, animals, and bacteria. It’s important to remember that fungi are not plants, or even much like them; genetically, in fact, they are more similar to animals than to plants. Vegetarians, take note.
Human history is interwoven with fungi. We eat mushrooms, of course, and people pay big money for truffles; yeasts, a branch of fungi, have long been a part of human consumption, since they ferment wine and beer and raise our bread. Fungi give us poisons, hallucinogens, medicines, and blue cheese. We should be honoring them by dressing our children as Trumpet Chanterelles, Destroying Angels, Puff Balls, Penicillium. (And for you adults, Elegant Stinkhorns and frothy Worts!) Of course, fungi can also be less friendly, less tasty, as the recent fungal meningitis cases in the news attest. But then, Halloween is also a festival of fright…
So be forewarned: you have a year to figure out how to dress as a bacterium.
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, fungus, insects, Prospect Park
The Upper Pool is just starting to blush with the coming of fall. A walk through the park yesterday. We saw: Wood Duck, Mallard, Red-tailed Hawk, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Chimney Swift, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Kestrel, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Carolina Wren, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Palm Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, White-throated Sparrow, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.Also, lurking below: Elegant Stinkhorn, Mutinus elegans. This species is thought to be the first North American fungus described by a European, in 1679 Virginia. The genus name, Mutinus, harkens back to a priapic Roman god.Potter wasp (Eumenes fraternus) gathering mud for her nest.
It’s been a good spring for cedar-apple rust. Two weeks ago during the great rain, I noticed several searches for the fungus, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, leading to my post of last year on the subject. This year I was on Nantucket to see the fungus in its blooming glory, all over the eastern red cedars in the backyard. They look like some kind of sea anemone, but the gelatinous horns here are spewing out spores into the wind. A few off these spores will land on apple trees, where the next stage of the fungus’s two year long, two tree species-hosted life-cycle will establish itself.
I do not cease to be amazed.
Tags: birds, fungus, mammals, Prospect Park, trees
Tags: Brooklyn, fungus, Prospect Park
The early days of spring, with their rain and damp, are good for mushrooms. These fruiting bodies of fungi grow quite quickly when conditions are right. This one was peaking out of the leaf-litter in Prospect Park over the weekend. I’m pretty clueless on identifying mushrooms, but I think it’s a polypore of some kind.
Did you know that funguses are more closely related genetically to animals than plants? My cousin, the mushroom.
Tags: fungus, Nantucket, trees
Many of us look to the stars hoping for new discoveries. Obviously, there’s plenty to find out there. But some people seem to think everything has already been done right down here. Ha!
Last week I was on Nantucket Island, off the coast of Massachusetts. Thirty miles at sea, it’s a damp and very windy place. Evidently, this kind of climate is just about perfect for cedar-apple rust. This is a fungus, Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae, that has a fascinating, dual-tree life cycle.
The picture above is of the gall, which grows on Eastern red cedars (actually junipers, Juniperus virginiana). There seem to be a good number of them this year. For apple growers, the rust is a disease, hence it’s fecund representation on the web on ag and horticulture sites. For amateur naturalists, it’s simply mind-bending.
The “blooming” of the rust is a late April/early May event. I’ll be missing it this year, so the photos shared below come from my archives from several years back. (Pre-macro lens days.)
In summary, spring sees a gall, which has over-wintered on an eastern red cedar, bloom with these orange gelatinous tendrils, called telial horns, which send teliospores on the wind to find, hopefully for the fungus, apple trees. (The nearest apple tree I know of to these cedars is about a football field away.) There, on the apple’s leaves, fruits, and stems, the rust grow through the summer. Then it too “blooms,” from colorful lesions, but very different looking. These send other spores out to infect the nearby red cedars for the over-wintering … and around it goes.