Fluted Bird’s Nest fungi look like the nests of teeny tiny birds, but these ‘eggs’ are really spore cases called periodoles. The ‘nests’ are actually splash cups called a sporocarps.
The scientific name for these tiny, wondrous fungi is Cyathus striatus.
The immature nests are a lighter color and have a thin skin on top, so that the ‘eggs’ will not get launched out by a raindrop before they are ready.
The mature nests are darker brown with gray ‘eggs’ ready for takeoff during the next rain.
This last shot shows a mix of mature and immature nests. Nature is beautiful and magical.
FLOW on Fungi
Zeta threw down a lot of limbs last week.
It is always interesting to look at what has taken up residence on the dead wood of a tree.
These life forms get heavy with rain, then the wind stresses the limb to the point that gravity wins.
Here is a limb full of life.
It is covered with fungi and lichen.
The fungi here is called a jelly.
The lichens are grouped by their form.
They can be crustose, foliose of fruticose depending on whether they appear crusty, leafy of fruity.
If you would like to learn more, use the link below.
We have had quite a bit of rain in my part of North Carolina.
We delayed our mountain trip by a day due to more rain.
All that moisture creates the perfect conditions for fungi.
I did not take along my usual camera, so these are from my phone. My shoe is in photos for scale.
At first my daughter got irritated with our stopping for mushrooms.
By the end of the day she was pointing them out to me.
There were hundreds of different types and thousands of them.
Some tiny and others giant. This white one was a foot tall.
It was absolutely magical.
We crested a hill to see thousands of these little orange mushrooms
scattered on both sides of the road.
It was a glorious day.
Rain is a good thing!
It seems like this answer would be simple, but it is not.
It is not death that brings them down, its all the new life they create as they die.
While they are old and weakened other things move in.
Insects bore holes through the bark.
Birds peck at the holes to get the insects.
Water gets into the bark and fungi follows.
Now water hides in all those nooks and crannies.
Lichens like this environment so they start settle in and grow.
Moss spores get blown on the breeze and light on this new little habitat.
More rain, more spores, more insects, more holes.
One day there is a wind or a heavy rain.
There is not enough old dead fiber left in the bough to support all that new life,
so it breaks.
Gravity brings the bough back to earth with all the new life on board.
Death is part of a continuum.
Not the end.