Tuesday, 20 December 2011

more on fungi

This gets more interesting every year.

In 2009, it looked like this.

Last year, 2010, it looked like this.

And now, 2011, it looks like this (thanks Mum for sending the photographs):


Raeline said...

They are starting to look spooky! I wonder what will happen next. Will they burst?

Rachael said...

They won't burst. The individual mushrooms don't last long before they go rotten. There are other types of fungi that produce a fruiting body called a "puffball". These do explode when they dry out, releasing their spores into the air.

What I think is happening here is that something akin to "fairy rings" are forming.

Fungi consist mostly of an underground microscopic body called a mycelium which consists of thread-like structures called hyphae. The mushroom itself is the fruit" of the mycelium.

The mycelium grows outward in all directions from the the mushroom. Eventually it will produce fruiting bodies at its new edge, which will be in a ring around the where the original mushroom was.

What appears to be happening in this case is that the fruiting bodies are produced once a year, just before Christmas. Initially there was just one. Then in the second year, there were a few, roughly in a circular shape around where the first had been.

Then the third time it seems that the mycelium has grown out again producing a bigger ring and more fruiting bodies.

Rachael said...

What I would really like to know is what the mushroom is. I've never seen one that big before (or since).