Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Phyllotopsis nidulans

Just got out in the woods yesterday. Probably my last time at this site over near Tuscaloosa. I came upon these lovely orange babies on a snag.
They look superficially like oysters, but on pine? No, these are the orange mock oyster, Phyllotopsis nidulans. Astipitate (without a stipe or stalk), on wood, these ones didn't smell fetid to me though they are reported to be nasty smelling. The pileus is fluffy in appearance on the top.

I just recently discovered another mycoblog, Mycorant. They have a link to my blog (thanks!) and do have some of the same material (i.e. fungal news), but a lot more of it. Did they get the inspiration for the name from looking upon my blog? Maybe. I'd like to think that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I recommend checking it out.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


One of my goals in writing this blog is to act as ombudsman for fungi. Why? Because fungi are, in my mind, fascinating organisms to study. It is true that fungi may interfere with human lives as agents of disease, and reduce yields of food crops. However, one fungal product has saved more lives than any other modern medical miracle except perhaps vaccinations, penicillin.

I came across this article recently, about the banning of yellow ribbons to honor soldiers in Litchfield, Connecticut. The reasons the town council gave for banning the ribbons were ridiculously flimsy. One reason was that the ribbons may cause a tree-killing fungus. This is absolute rubbish. Once again, fungi are being used as a scapegoat, and thankfully the citizens are not amused.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Some more fungal news

I've been slacking again. I just got back from a visit with my folks in Charlottesville, VA, where I had few fungal adventures, other than finding this lovely oyster mushroom growing on a tree on the Lawn of the UVa campus.

What else has been going on? Well, for one thing, Morrissey, former singer for the Smiths, decided he would launch into a tirage against Aer Lingus, calling it Aer Fungus. Grrr, why? Such a feeble insult! Clearly he knows little about the wonderful world of fungi.

In other news, a prime specimen of the white truffle was purchased by a Philadelphia restaurant for $4,100. The truffle weighed in at over a pound, and was found in Italy. You can see the fungal nugget in all its glory in this YouTube video.

Perhaps I should be looking for a job in the UK? A 90% drop in the number of mycologists may lead to more mushroom poisonings, according to this article.

And finally, an investigation into the abundance of fungi in mammoth dung has provided evidence that the decline of their populations was long and drawn out, not precipitous as would be expected in a meteor-caused extinction.