Crushing on mushrooms
September 21, 2010
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I’m assisting in an ecosystems-based ecology course this term, and it is a FREAKING RIOT. The labs are entirely field-based, and we take students out to explore different types of ecosystems in the region around The University, often with the help of various experts. For today’s lab, we had a fungus expert leading the way. After a brief lecture, we set the students loose in the woods, armed with paper bags and pocket knives for collecting specimens. We were only supposed to bring back ONE species each.
I think I got a little carried away. (And this little pile was what remained after grudgingly handing over other Really Cool Stuff to students who hadn’t had as much luck as I did).
What amazed me most was when we all regrouped – we laid out our treasures in a circle, and there was hardly any overlap in species; almost everyone had picked something unique. Holy diversity, Batman!
I think the brownish jelly cup fungus (bottom left corner) and the yellow-capped Pholiota sp. (top right corner) were my favourites, but I also developed a huge crush on coral fungi. One student found a clump as big as a soccer ball! We found several shades of them too, including a soft purple.
Here’s a look at some of our goodies. I think I’ll be paying more attention to these beauties in the future!