Posts Tagged 'fungus'

Rust Never Sleeps

Cedar-apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperivirginianae) just past its peak gelatinous stage on an Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. These telial horns fire off spores during the wet spring season. The spores float off, perhaps to find a rose family tree like an apple or crabapple (Malus) for the the next stage of its life.

One of my favorite lifeforms.

Bracket

Or shelf. Monday’s mushroom, or fruiting fungal body, was growing out of a stump in Green-Wood. The volcanic cone of old wood, all hollowed out inside, was host to several such ‘shrooms: this was the smaller and fresher looking of them.

I know it’s the beginning of the week, but just think of the fungal kingdom surrounding us in the soil and the air. It’s their planet; we’re just maiming it.

Fungus Boroughs

Obolaria virginica

A gentian family member not easy to spot down in the leaf litter of early spring. This was poking up less than two inches. We found this one, and others, in an unused, unpaved driveway in Virginia. Appropriately enough, since both its species epithet and common name, Virginia Pennywort, reference the state. (Virginia Pennyleaf is another name for it.) It does not seem to get up here to New York.

Notably, though it has green leaves, it’s one of the plants that isn’t fully dependent on photosynthesis. Instead, it takes some of its energy from the fungi it’s symbiotically associated with. That makes this it a mycotroph, or fungus flower.

Oak Wilt

Damn it! I really wanted to start on a positive note, but the bad news just keeps coming. Oak wilt has been discovered in Brooklyn. This is a lethal fungal infection of oaks and other species, its spores spread by beetles.

img_2116When I was in Green-Wood on Friday, I heard a chipper hard at work. As I got closer, I realized it was grinding up one of my favorite old Red Oaks! That’s about 7 feet of stump still to go. This is the tree whose globular fungal growths, which have nothing to do with the wilt as far as I’ve been able to tell, have piqued my curiosity before. The sixth image down here is what these mushrooms look like when fresh.

Here’s more about the disease.

Oaks are so damn important. Their relationship to a host of life forms, particularly insects and birds, puts them deep within a spreading web of ecological connections (Muir Webs). And we have a lot of oaks here in the city, on the street and in the parks and woodlands.

I mean, it’s a double-whammy: a killer orange fungus soon to be soiling the White House, and a nasty fungal pathogen going after some of our grandest trees.

Oregonia

mushroom

caterpillar

bark

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There’s your beautiful world, NW edition. Here’s Masha Gessen, an old hand at autocracy, on surviving Trumpism, very necessary reading now.

Mushroom Monday

All the ‘shrooms had come out to play! Here’s some of the charismatic mega-fungi I spotted yesterday.

img_0337This beast was 16″ across.giantAn this was the largest gill-type mushroom I’ve ever seen at about 8″ across.mushroomsin the same patch.  img_0336There used to be a tree here.ballThe mycelium don’t forget.img_0345I guess I finally solved this mystery. puffballPuffballs.
insideYou know, that time I went out with the mushroom club hoping to learn something, I did, and that was that the club just wanted to rip ’em out of the ground before anybody else did, to identify them and then eat them if possible. That was the last of that cannibal crowd for me. None of these fruiting bodies were harmed in the course of these photographs.


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