Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Saturday: 15 July 2006

Fungus City  -  @ 05:06:02

Another nice thing about wood chips is mushrooms.

I'm afraid I didn't observe these closely enough when they popped out on June 28 after our heavy rains. So I'm not completely certain what they are but they do resemble Japanese Umbrella Inky (Coprinus plicatilis). There are certainly other possibilities though. I *should* have done a spore print. I *should* have broken off a piece to see what happened to the color and texture.

The inky cap family, Coprinaceae, is one of those that contains species that do autophagy, or programmed cell death. When mature, the spores don't simply blow out on the wind. Instead, the gills of the mushroom self-digest, deliquiscing into a gooey black mass of spores. Now that would have been a good indicator, since some species do it enthusiastically and others less so.

By the way, there's at least one species, the otherwise edible Alcohol Inky (C. atramentarius) that has an alcohol dehydrogenase inhibitor. This prevents alcohol from being detoxified, so it's a bad thing after eating them to partake for the next couple of days.

I was thinking about taking the day, maybe the entire weekend, from posting, and then I looked at these photos from the end of June and thought, why not. Basidiomycetes have mostly gotten short shrift here, which is odd since I spent some time trying to learn to identify them awhile back. I've missed our fungi this year. The lack of rain seems to have inhibited a lot of spring and early mushrooms from making an appearance. We would typically have a lot of bright orange chanterelles by now. Oh well.

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