Going on a fungi find

Molecules flow through space
ebbing and eddying
a single cell forms into life
touching another, making love
cellular strings lace outwards
forking, branching, frolicking
mosaics of networks emerge
a model of life surges
finds home on land
on this blue planet
the network is mycelium
rejoices in creation
in elegance and grace, to form
a mushroom
the universe smiles

Paul Stamets, American mycologist and author

Lichen agaric (Lichenomphalia umbellifera) in my woodlands in Bandon, Oregon

Paul Stamets is a mycologist and the author of five books about mushrooms, including Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness and Save the Planet (2019). The book has been adapted into a film, and screenings are taking place all over the country starting this month and continuing into 2020. Stamets appeared on TED Talks in 2014 to discuss 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World.

Mushrooms are the fruit of fungi that bear spores for reproduction, but the most magical feature of fungi occurs in the soil.

It’s there that the vegetative part of a fungus, composed of whitish-colored mycelium, grows long filaments that can extend for miles underground. Mycelium’s mass network of threads, called hyphae, feed soil microorganisms and attach themselves to plant roots. The hyphae become an extension of the plant’s root system, providing more access to nutrients and moisture in the soil.

Our gardens and landscapes need fungi for healthy soil and plants. The appearance of mushrooms means magical things are happening in the soil because microbes and fungi are plentiful and active.

I recently went on a fungi find on my woodland property in Bandon and found several different kinds of mushrooms. I haven’t been able to identify all of them yet, but it was fun to focus my attention on something that I haven’t noticed before.

Orange coral (Ramaria flavigelatinosa)
Zeller’s bolete (Boletus zelleri)
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Death cap (Amanita phalloides)
Unknown mushroom
Pinecone fungus
Pretty white mushrooms growing in clusters
Unknown mushroom
Unknown mushroom. It looks like a clove garlic on the top!
Decomposing mushroom
Unknown mushrooms
Most mushrooms blend in with the fallen leaves and twigs.

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