Blog

March 2018

Short Story

All We Are Is Spores In The Wind

On the morning of Monday, February 19th, we were honored to welcome the talented and extremely knowledgeable, Tradd Cotter, mycologist and owner of Mushroom Mountain, for a site tour of the Circle Acres Nature Preserve and the Research Station.

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Weather conditions were ideal for fruiting fungi. We walked slowly and focused our gazes on the mulch, fallen hardwood logs, trees, and soil, in case we might find mushrooms. Humidity levels were 85% before sunrise, lowered to 76% in the early morning and dropped to 62% humidity by the time we were walking the paths with Tradd. The wind increased throughout the day steadily to 12 mph, the highest it would be for all of the month of February. Perfect weather for a fortuitous meeting of an especially expressive fungus of the Genus Peziza.

As we discussed the qualities of the land and the looming chances of morel season beginning, I saw what looked from a distance to be a wood ear mushroom (Auricularia auricula) resting on the edge of the path. Upon closer inspection, Tradd identified it as a large cup fungus of the Genus Peziza. He shared with us that fungi of this Genus are related to morels and are wind-activated (being sensitive to changes in air pressure - learn how here).

Two days later, after showing nearly 20 people the Peziza and sharing Tradd’s knowledge about the fungus, I found myself on the phone with my abuela, Nana, talking about the recent rains. I listened while she imitated her favorite thunderstorm sound: el viento, the wind. Among all of the voices of a thunderstorm -- booming thunder, cracks of lightning, a wet chorus of rain drops -- her favorite is the sound of the howling wind through the trees.

After we said goodbye, I went back to Circle Acres for another walk to show the Peziza to friends. This time as I repeated Tradd’s words, I heard her voice singing in my mind resonating loudly over my own speech, and it hit me: blow on the cups. I took out my phone, pressed record and began directing my breath across the openings. One second...two seconds….*a cloud of spores* rose swiftly and gently upward, momentarily illuminating the movement of air between us.

- Kate Avery

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Species Sightings

Here are some of the flora, fauna and fungi spotted by MycoAlliance staff, Ecology Action staff, volunteers and visitors to the preserve in February and March of 2018 so far:

o   Green Tree Frog Hyla cinerea

o   Carolina Mantis Stagmomantis carolina

o   Yellow-crowned Night-Heron Nyctanassa violacea

o   Texas Spiny Lizard Sceloporus olivaceus

o  Giant Spiderwort Tradescantia gigantea  

o   Red Shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus

 o   Scrambled Eggs Corydalis aurea

o  White Prickly Poppy Argemone albiflora  

 

Fungal Observations

o   Peziza Repanda Palomino Cup

o   Trametes Versicolor Turkey Tail

o   Lepista nuda Blewit

o   Volvopluteus gloiocephalus Stubble Rosegill

o  Fulgo septica Dog Vomit Slime Mold

o  Lentinus tigrinus  Tiger Sawgill

o   Polyporus arcularius

Site Renovation and Maintenance Update

Many species of fungi seem to proliferate along the edges of man-made patchways.

Red wiggler worms love the taste of mycelium.

Lion’s Mane is one-bite-worthy according to white-tailed deer. Oysters remain the favorite.

The larger the fungal biomass, the larger the mushroom.

Blewit mycelium is purple!!

Dog Vomit Slime mold has a proclaimed resistance to cadmium and zinc.

Stubble Rosegill has a deadly poisonous look-a-like called the, “Destroying Angel.”

Katie Avery