Friday, June 11, 2010

earthstar decay

The rain has brought the fungi. The diversity of those living in our small patch of garden and nearby is extraordinary! Most recently discovered is an Earthstar (Geastrum pectinatum) right outside the front door. A round shell of tissue splits open along lines of longitude forming a multi-pointed star with a spherical centre that (apparently) contains the spores. I am waiting for rain drops to cause this to explode in a puff.

Dozens and dozens of shaggy ink caps are forming miniature castles before distintegrating into the telltale black goo that sticks to your shoes if you inadvertantly brush past one. A huge mushroom (well, it was perhaps 10 inches in diameter) sprang from the mulch, no doubt growing on the remaining roots of a recently removed tree. It was tempting to BBQ it but I am no expert at identifying these things and don't wish to end my days writhing in pain from a toxin-laden winter's supper! In a nearby garden perhaps a dozen Fly Amanita, the infamous red toadstools with white spots, form a garden fit for a faery rave. Winter is a terrific time to be looking at your feet. True, the wildflowers are in hiding, but their "opposites" are well worth investigating. As always, decay and beauty go hand in hand. Nature's amazing organisms provide the ultimate display of ingenuity and diversity.

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