Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fungus

If recent rainfall patterns continue, this will be a record year for fungus at Blue Jay Barrens. We’ve had over 16 inches of rain in the last 10 weeks and predictions are for more to come. The more it rains, the more the fungi grow.
This specimen is one of the jelly types that I believe is called Tree-ear. I’m thinking they were still in the process of forming, because the larger of the lot had a definite ear shape while the smaller more resembled deflated plastic bags.
They were all growing from this small branch that looks to have been blown to the ground during one of the recent wind storms. This new position may limit the range of spore dispersal for this fungus. If the branch had stayed in the tree, the fungus would have released its spores high in the air where the wind was more likely to carry them over a greater distance. Now the spores will be released near the ground and will have a much tougher time climbing into the air currents that provide the greatest distribution potential.
Fungal fruiting bodies sometimes go through an odd process to achieve their final shape. These are more the ear shape that is expected of this species.
I’m looking forward to the explosion of fungi that should occur when the weather warms a bit more. For me, part of the allure of the fungi is the fact that it’s so difficult to get them to grow where you want them. I’d love to have a fungi collection growing up near the house where I could watch the progress of various species, but most fungi require specific conditions that are hard to artificially reproduce. I’ll just have to go enjoy the fungi where they happen to grow.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, Lois. If you want to spice up a conversation, just mention fungus.

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