Posts Tagged 'fungi'

Witches’ Broom

A hackberry tree, Celtis occidentalis. Notice the clumpiness in the canopy?
A slightly closer view of one fo the clumps. (They were all out of hand’s reach.) This is witches’ broom, a gall-like growth of branches sprouting in multiples. Hackberry is particularly susceptible. In this case, it seems to be caused by a combination of a fungus and a mite. I gather the mite carries the fungus…

It is thought to be:

“attributed to two agents acting together: a powdery mildew fungus (Sphaerotheca phytoptophila) and a minute, wormlike, eriophyid mite (Eriophyes celtis, synonym Aceria snetsingeri) about 200 microns long.”

The mite’s name has recently been changed to Aceria celtis.

Evidently there are strains of hackberries that are immune to it. People think it’s unsightly. People!

This specimen is in Prospect Park. There are two young hackberries outside our window here. You may remember that the city’s street tree survey insisted they were hawthorns. We fixed that. Just the other day I noticed that one of them had some witches’ broom in it. I don’t think the tree had any there last year. I’m not positive, but I don’t feel like they were there.

Amber Jelly

Under two mature oaks, one red and one willow. Windfall branches from the canopies after a recent rain-snow storm. (Over-exposed coin just over an inch across for scale.)
Both trees’ branches were sporting this jelly raisin-like stuff. It seems to be Amber Jelly Fungus (Exidia ricsa).
I’ve never see this at eye-level or below, only on branches/twigs that have fallen down. There’s stuff going on way up there that we earth-bounders rarely see.

A Miscellany

Indian pipe in fruit.
A spider wasp of some kind, found dead on this car. The pearly paint really shows up in detail; I bet its production is toxic as hell. The Pompilidae family of spider wasps has some 5000 species in it…
There are a number of fungi that stain wood various colors. Denim blue may be the best known of these colors. Possibly something in the Chlorociboria genus.
An old park sign.
This pollen-smeared bee kept going into and under these clumps in the hexpavers. Searching for a place to quarry a nest?
Shadow of a skipper.
Fruit of False Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum). They’ll redden up as they get riper. Who eats these? Ruffed grouse and other birds, white-foot mice and a few other mammals. We don’t have grouse in the city. Of the leaves: deer sometimes eat them but not often, and other herbivores leave them alone. Penn State says “this lack of herbivore pressure greatly assists the continued persistence and growing abundance of false Solomon’s seal in its forest habitats.”
Room with overhanging roof…
Fall webworm around a walnut.
A silky hideaway.
Greta Thunberg on the Malizia II passing the Statue of Liberty yesterday afternoon. This is the view from the moraine.

Mushroom Monday

On twigs brought down…and way up.

Mushroom Monday

These long-format (16:9 aspect ratio) images look better on the big screen, so click on them once to expand.
Usually I shoot 3:2,the old 35mm film standard; sometimes I crop these down for detail. I’m sure you’ll see some 1:1 images around here soon (sounds just right for a woodchuck portrait).Meanwhile, more stinkhorns! This time Phallus impudicus  Phallus raveneilii (thanks to comment below, backed up by iNaturalist, for correction.)They — ok, it was her niece — say Darwin’s daughter Etty would edit these out of the garden, for some reason…

Something completely different, although perhaps not completely different:

“As with the societies we live in, the planet we have inherited from our ancestors, and the one we are making now, is a social construct, shaped physically and culturally by the perceptions, values, aspirations, tools, and institutions of societies past and present. These social structures and processes have changed across generations as the cultural practices and institutions that produced them have evolved. In the Anthropocene, Earth’s ecology changes with us. Environmental change is social change, and social change is cultural change.” Erle C. Ellis on a democratic vision of the biosphere.

Mushroom Monday

To everything there is a season, and these mushrooms were on the way to deliquescing into ooze. Ants in the first picture. In the second, the white rice-looking things are alive. They are some kind of springtails, possibly of the genus Ceratophysella, and are scavenging on the rich fruit of these fruiting bodies. As always, you can click on these images to pop them open, although you may wish to pass on this one.I read recently a comment from a lower Hudson River valley mushroom hunter, who said this fall has seen the most mushroom in half a century. It was extraordinarily wet, that’s for sure.Large Yellow Webworm caterpillar.

Mushroom Monday

A couple of stinkhorn mushrooms. Elegant, no? Well, elegant stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans) is what these things are called. The French, being French, mince not: Phalle élégant.I usually see these in mulch piles, but these two were sprouting from the grassy mix under a Turkish filbert.Most mushrooms disperse spores via the air. These phallocratic fungi have a fetid mucus which attracts gnats and flies. The spores stick to the insects… I got pretty close for these pictures, but, battling mosquitos, did not notice any stench.

Mammal/Mushroom Combo Monday

A melanistic variation on the ubiquitous Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. These darker ones are said to tolerate colder weather better. Another notion has it that urban environments, with less predators, are also more likely to see greater numbers of both black and white variations of S. carolinensis. Our first example is digging up a nut or berry, but these squirrels are so successful because they’re practically omnivorous. The leftover-monger with snout in the hazelnut spread is from 2015 in Prospect Park. Besides scavenging our ample waste-food, gathering seeds, nuts, and fruits, and the occasional invertebrate and even vertebrate, they also eat mushrooms. Not sure if the small, tentative bite marks here, however, are squirrel. This mushroom was found in Green-Wood, which interestingly doesn’t have as high a density of squirrels as Prospect Park or the botanical garden in the Bronx (first picture).

North Woods

We were in Skåne, Sweden’s southern-most county, largely flat and agricultural. But there were certainly pockets of woodlands.And mushrooms.And the fabled Röd flugsvamp (Amanita muscaria), which the Vikings used to get up and go… berserk in the morning.


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