Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Shroom Sculptures


We have had a wet couple of weeks and as I have walked around our neighborhood over the past few days, I have been struck by the wide variety of mushrooms that pop up and then decline in the yards I pass. So this morning, I took my camera with me. All of these pictures were taken without trespassing. I am sure there are many, many more interesting ones further into yards.

I will start with some of my favorite ones. There are lots of these tiny, oh-so-delicate umbrellas growing close to the pavement. They must need the heat from the road.


The colors! Just look at the variety of colors!



Georgia Red:


Egg yolk:


These were true peach, but hard to photograph.




And burnt toast:


B has a yard where he works that has mushrooms that bruise bright blue when he hits them with the mower. That will get your attention.

This one was an icky mess. It seems to have gone to the Dark Side. The dark part was wet and slimy looking. The white had a powdery look to it.


I regularly see squirrels eating mushrooms--it may explain their erratic behavior! Yesterday, I saw a small grasshopper sculpting the gnarly face on this mushroom.


The form and texture of this one is amazing and it was huge.


These are growing around a stump in our yard.


I had an uncle who knew all kinds of interesting things and one of his skills was knowing which mushrooms were edible. As far as I am concerned, the edible ones are the ones bought in Publix: I have no idea in the wild ---and apparently it is a very difficult and risky skill to learn. There is a mushroom farm in nearby Gadsden county. The compost that they must replace regularly is some of the best gardening material there is.

Some observations I made this morning:

The mushrooms were not growing in the areas that are not regularly mown and where the grass was knee-deep (county maintained). I also see few on lawns where fertilizer and, possibly, weed-and-feed had been applied. The more colorful mushrooms were not in full-sun. Some of the neighborhood mushrooms are so malodorous that you notice it just walking down the street and wonder what smells so BAD before you remember. There are a few fairy rings but none were really distinct, so I did not try to photograph them. I'll save that for another entry.

Some interesting things I learned from reading:

Though the mushrooms are short-lived, the underground part of these organisms can be huge and ancient. In Oregon, there is a colony believed to cover 2,200 ACRES and be at least 2,400 years old. Unbelievable!

Mushrooms have long been used for dying wool and can impart many bright and lasting colors.

Flies and beetles feed and lay eggs on mushrooms. Mushrooms are the principle food of southern flying squirrels. Mice also eat mushrooms.

"Shrooms" is the name used for the hallucinogenic mushrooms but sometimes is generalized for any mushrooms.

1 comment:

Rurality said...

Nice mushrooms! Nice blog too. :)

I looked at the snake posts you mentioned - I don't think I'd be wearing flip-flops in the yard there either! Water Moccasins are the one snake I'm really afraid of, because I've seen some individuals be pretty aggressive. Luckily the one I almost stepped on once was pretty calm. :)