Friday, November 06, 2009

A Fungus Among Us!

And aren't we thrilled? My friend Dave, over at Outhouse Capitol of Canada posted some beautiful photos of mushrooms he'd taken he taken in the last while.

Consulting the book I decided, that as closely as I can determine the first is a polyphore, probably a Ganoderma applanatum. The other is probably Flammulina velutipes, aka "velvet foot", a fall-winter blooming type.

This morning, while out for a ramble in the sun I noticed that an old tree stump in a neighbour's site was shingled with Flammulina velutipes! I grabbed the camera and took some pictures. This stump is a good 18" across, so this is a nice display. Not as nice as the one Dave found but close at hand!

From the top it is difficult to tell that these have any stems at all, but getting down on all fours and looking very closely proves otherwise. A close examination of reveals a few dark slender stems.

Going back a bit to early summer, I caught this row of 'shrooms sneaking through the grass across the road, bound for who knows where. When I went back to take a second picture the next day they had entirely disappeared. This is not unusual in our hot weather. Mushrooms come and go in a single day. Since I foolishly neglected to get a photo of the stem or gills, I can't now identify them. Next year I will be smarter in my photography.

A couple of weeks later these little caps made an appearance at the base of the mock cherry tree in front. They began as perfectly smooth little grey-white spheres, within a couple of hours they had flared out and the caps split, looking like dancer's skirts. By the next day they had collapsed and disappeared back into the soil.

And in mid-September these, which I believe to be Neolentinus lepideus came up adjacent to the mock cherry in the back end of the site. Sure sign that these trees are not at all healthy. These were much larger than the caps in front, some two inches across at this stage, opening to a good four to five inch umbrella. In the cooler temperatures they lasted three or four days.

They have short fruiting periods but never mind, I enjoy watching them come and go. Paul Stamets, author of ‘Mycelium Running  - How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World’, says, "...fungi are in constant biomolecular communication with its ecosystem.  They are articulate.  They are inherently intelligent." See a five minute video of Paul here, and tour his incredible mushroom-growing facility.

I think it would be fun to grow mushrooms, where I am not so sure, but they are certainly interesting to watch.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Very interesting pictures! I was thinking of growing Shitake mushrooms on logs. Hopefully one day I'll get around to trying it. Have you ever thought about purchasing a mushroom kit? They seem like a lot of fun.