Friday, November 30, 2012

Bird's Nest Fungi

It's that time of the year again. That time when the leaves fall off the trees, the temperature drops, and it rains, rains, rains. All these things make the perfect conditions for fungi to grow. You know, those creatures that are not quite plant, and not quite animal, that do an amazing job at decay. They are around us everywhere: in the soil, in the air, and in the water. Only when they fruit, do we get to see the diversity of their forms. Gerry found one in the bog the other day.

These fungi are called bird's nest fungi. As you can see, they look like nests made by little tiny birds with several little eggs inside.  The scientific name of this one is Nidula candida. They grow on twigs on the ground. The scientific name for an 'egg' is a peridiole. Inside each peridiole is thousands of spores. The spores get dispersed by having the eggs fly out when water splashes into the cup. Thanks for the pictures Gerry!