Posts Tagged 'fungus'

Mushroom Monday

First, one is noticed under the pine.Then the others. This stray oak leaf looks gigantic next to them.

John Adams, of all people, forecasting Trump: “the weakness, the folly, the Pride, the Vanity, the Selfishness, the Artifice, the low craft and meaning cunning, the want of Principle, the Avarice the unbounded Ambition, the unfeeling cruelty.” He was speaking of the dangers of aristocracy to republican government, which he felt was liable to be corrupted by the rich and powerful. But he also thought that people would flock to their masters. Here again he gets it on the nose: the suckers “not only become their Dupes, but even love to be Taken in by their Tricks.” That’s the popular support for Trumpism in a rancid nutshell.

Mushroom Heaven

There was a lot of rain in September. That made the fruiting bodies of fungi very happy. This one was found like this. I don’t suspect Andy Goldsworthy….Deep under a beech. Very hard to reproduce their (fungi are more closely related to animals than plants) purples, at least as seen by my all-too-human eyes.

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Still enslaved by Facebook’s “surveillance capitalism“?

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.


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