Starting out from Brooklyn, an amateur naturalist explores our world. "The place to observe nature is where you are."—John Burroughs
Stinkhorns in Sunset Park. Genus Mutinus, but I’m not sure of the species, caninus, ravenelii? These are not all that unfamiliar in the urban context: mulched areas of parks are a good place to find them. These mushrooms, of the Phallaceae family, are atypical fungi: they produce a stinky slime to attract flies, who then help distribute the fungal spores. The flies buzzed off when I took the pictures.
A hike in the fall woods is always a sensual and philosophical experience.I was in a yellow light under oaks and beeches in an overcast sky, later speared through by shafts of sunlight.Yes, both the woods and I were speared. My eyes kept shifting from the whole to the parts. Walking over even relatively smooth trails still requires at least one eye on the path for rocks and roots and unexpected katydids. You can just see one of the animal’s tympana, or ears, on the top foreleg, just under the joint, here.And of course you must stop, and catch your breath, which has run away from you, and turn around. I mean all the way around.This Chicken-of-the-Woods, with its cascade of yellow and orange petticoats, wouldn’t have been noticed otherwise.
A 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.Starflower (Trientalis borealis).Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), a wildflower relation of Dogwood.Jack-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.A lichen? Red-belted or banded polyphore (Fomitopsis pinicola).A 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.