Fungus Flowers

All it takes is rain for the fungus flowers to appear.

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Even in winter, the bonnets bloom.

Perched on stalks like tiny parasols.

Raised only inches high to open their tops

and stretch out their gills

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to spread their spores

to sow some more

fungus flowers.

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Jelly Ears on a Stick

One of my chores is to pick up sticks in the yard.

I have not done this in a while, so there were lots of them.

I wear my camera in case something interesting shows up while I am out.

I did not see this before I felt it.

Jelly Ear fungus. A slimy resident in old wood.

 Auricularia is its Latin genus name.

There is debate about the species name for the form in the south eastern United States.

Its slippery and squishy after a rain.

Next time, I will remember my gloves.

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Yellow Umbrellas

I spied some yellow umbrellas under a Key lime tree.

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If I were a fairy, I would have sat under one to drink lemonade.

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Since I am only a busy human, I had to continue with my menial tasks.

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But I can dream while I work

of sitting under a yellow umbrella

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beneath a Key lime tree

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Lemon-yellow Lepiota/ Lepiota lutea

drinking lemonade in the shade.

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Same Old Slime Mold

It appeared in the late afternoon. It was not there that morning when I hung out the laundry.

It climbed up the edge of the concrete just feet from where it emerged from the ground last year.

Same sulfur yellow, same blobbing fan of puffy, pasty goo.

The bunnies seemed undisturbed by its presence.

Of course, they also ignore snakes and chipmunks…and me when I call them to come in.

It was much bigger this morning.

I am going to keep an eye on this sneaky slime mold.

No telling what it plans to do.

I think I can outrun it.

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Conk up: Tree down

I am fascinated by all things fungi.

This particular conk, Inonotus dryadeus, has been featured in my posts before.

It was growing at the base of  a huge oak in my neighbors’ yard.

Another name for this type of fungi is “white rot.”

It is a symptom of the decline of the tree it is on.

The more conks present, the more disease.

Conks are a symptom, not a cause.

Last week the tree came down,

with some help from a team of men with ropes and chain saws.

My neighbor left the conk on my stone bench because she knew I would want to keep it.

Here it is now out of the ground and upside down.

I think it is beautiful.

Maybe I could make it into a hat to match these shoes?

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Itty Bitty Bird’s Nests

These fungi have the common name of “Bird’s Nest” or splash cups.

Each may look like a tiny nest full of eggs, but it acts like a catapult .

No bird mama would shoot her precious eggs out of the nest like balls from a canon,

but this Cyanthus olla does just that.

These tiny splash cups are ripe and ready for rain.

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Bird’s nest fungi Cyanthus olla

When a raindrop plops into the cup, it triggers an ejection mechanism (funiculus)

to shoot out the eggs (peridioles) with a coil and sticky blob attached.

This contraption flies a few feet into the air and the coil wraps around whatever it hits.

The “egg” hangs around until it dries and splits open, releasing its spores.

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Bird’s nest fungi Cyanthus olla

Then many more itty bitty bird’s nest form.  Who knew fungi could be so fun?

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The Beauty of Decay

There are many reasons that I love fungi.

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I have featured them many times on this blog.

When one sees mushrooms, brackets and their kin

we know that something is dead or dying.

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Beauty in death?  Yes.

Everything must die.

Fungi takes the valuable organic molecules and recycles them back

to a usable form.

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Decomposition is a renewing process.

I think these weeping conks are beautiful.

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The dying tree is all ready sharing the wealth it harvested from the sun

during its growing years.

Giving back to its neighbors as it declines.

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Beautiful isn’t it?

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