Mar 15 2014

Fundamentals of Fungi: A Touch o’ Sun Goo

I’m not at all happy with the trees right now. I’m not sure which trees are having sex, but some of them are, and they seem to be particularly frisky this year. I can tell because my asthma is acting up something fierce. Do you know how fun it’s not to be up for almost 48 hours straight because the medication that helps you breathe also amps you up like meth? Not fun at all.

But I shall have my revenge. Oh, yes. Someday, these trees will fall prey to lovely fungi, which will reduce them to a sad pile of mulch.

Some of that fungi will be rather pretty, too.

Mystery Fungi I

Mystery Fungi I

Okay, granted, it does look like the sun sneezed on that log. But it’s still artistic.

Mystery Fungi II

Mystery Fungi II

We don’t get so much of this in Arizona, so moving here and finding all sorts of fascinating fungi has made my hiking life considerably more interesting. And it’s not like my asthma liked pine tree porn any more than it does the XXX symphony up here. So I’ll accept the week or two of gasping like a fish in exchange for wonderful organisms. Even when those organisms are orgasming.

Mystery Fungi III

Mystery Fungi III

You know what else makes me happy? The fact we don’t stop at “Look at this wonderful thing God created.” No, we like to know things about it. We investigate down to its component atoms and trace its evolutionary history, which is a thing I can do once one of you more versed in the fundamentals of fungi than I am tells me what it is. You know that some person has made it their life’s work to understand the things growing all over dead wood.

Right. I just sniggered whilst typing wood. I think it’s time to stop talking about naughty nature for the nonce.


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  1. 1
    Lithified Detritus

    Looks like it might be Witches Butter, Tremella mesenterica. The right time of year for it, too, apparently.

  2. 2
    Al Dente

    I agree with Lithified Detritus, it looks like Tremella mesenterica, called Yellow Jelly around here.

  3. 3

    Tremella mesenterica is a great name for that fungus, as mesenteries are the bits of tissue that hold the intestines in place. They kind of look like this fungus.

    I wonder what those lovely lichens off to the right are. Some of them look a little like pixie cups but without the long stems.

  4. 4

    Interesting indeed. I shall have to look for some if I get out for a walk today. Love the moss and lichen as well. The tree appears to be red alder, very common in these parts.

  5. 5

    More like dead alder, I’d say.

  6. 6
    Gregory in Seattle

    I would have named it Fairy Snot, but I suppose Witches Butter or Yellow Jelly work, too.

  7. 7
    Allan Frost

    I can totally relate on the asthma medicine thing. Stuff makes my heart feel like it’s pounding out of my chest. Damn tree sex!

  8. 8

    Oh, Oh, OOOh … I know what they are … I saw it on Stat Trek … they squeak and fly and if one gets on you they take over your mind. The trick is to use bright light to kill them off.

  9. 9

    Hey, I’m going to go out tomorrow and sneeze on a log and submit it to you as an unidentifiable fungus – maybe someone here will give it a funky name! :D
    Art. A matter of taste, I suppose – or not, in this case. ;)
    (In all seriousness, pretty pictures.)

  10. 10

    I sympathize with the resentment of tree sex. I usually have minor asthma problems, but my sinuses really HATE tree sex.

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