Winter Treasure Hunt (Part 3: the fungus amungus!)
February 4, 2010
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(Continued from Part 2: stories in the snow)
I had brought my clip-on macro lens to the lonely road, not really expecting to find any subjects to try it out on, but then I spotted these:
Admittedly, these are not fungi in the true sense; lichens are a composite of a fungus and a photosynthetic partner, like green algae or cyanobacteria. The partner – capable of harnessing food energy from the sun – feeds the fungus, which is unable to make its own food. These symbiotic life forms are stunning, especially when viewed close up.
The lovely dark-centered “cups” are called apothecia; these are reproductive structures, cradling spore-producing hymenium.
This pinkish-hued foliose (leafy-shaped) lichen’s apothecia look like little pimento-stuffed green olives *hee*.
Another foliose lichen, this time grey. Foliose lichen are usually only attached to their substate at one central point. Lichen grow slowly…some as slowly as 0.5mm/year. They are extremely tolerant to periods of drought, intense cold and heat, and can grow on almost any type of substrate, whether natural or human-made.
A different type of fruiting body: a podetium. These grow on little stalks that raise the spores above the surface of the lichen.
Now, just one more shot of those lovely little cups:
Final instalment of the Winter Treasure Hunt- Part 4: Beetles????? coming soon!