Posts Tagged 'fungus'

Plants and other lifeforms

Vaccinium angustifoliumA few more from Maine. Here’s Low-bush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) in flower. I’m mad for those little Maine blueberries, which I get frozen and eat all winter.Trientalis borealisStarflower (Trientalis borealis).Cornus canadensisBunchberry (Cornus canadensis), a wildflower relation of Dogwood.Arisaema triphyllumJack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) needs to be revealed. Hiding its light under a bushel. This is a plant I’ve never run across locally, and more is the pity.maine2A lichen? Fomitopsis pinicolaRed-belted or banded polyphore (Fomitopsis pinicola).witches broomA fine example of witch’s broom, whereby something (fungi, insects, mites, nematodes, viruses, etc. are all possibilities) causes the plant to grow wildly thusly. They are variations on the principal of the gall: another life form hijacking the plant’s own growth systems. In this case, the intruding element interferes with the hormone that limits bud growth, and the tree goes wild.

Magic Mushroom

The “vivid” feature of the camera brings out the lurid in this large old shelf-like polypore.mushroomFungus is wild.




polyporeOne of the polypore mushroom species, aging nicely in Prospect Park.

Glazed oysters

PleurotusWater 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: Pleurotus

Old Fungus

That mushroom I photographed in October growing on this wooden fence was still there last week, looking rather lurid now.

Trick or Treat Fungus Among Us

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.

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.

Cedar-Apple Rust

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 of 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.

Colors of Spring

Orange fungus.
American robin blue.
Grey squirrel (black variant) & magnolia.
Burnt orange fungus.
Black dog, having a hell of a time trying to get out of the Lullwater.


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