Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Magnificent Phallus Indusiatus

This mushroom has many many names to it such as the; veiled lady, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn, bamboo pith, bamboo fungus, and was previously identified as the Dictyorphoria Indusitaus. These suckers get there name from the veil hanging from the cap. Hopefully now you recognize one of those names! Alright, this mushroom is mostly found in tropical forests because of the rich soil in these locations. Their life span runs pretty short, they survive for about 12 hours and then end up back into the ground. They originally start off looking like an egg and then emerge, having a veil hang down from the top. This veil is referred to as a indusium. The indusium can grow to the ground or shrink back up to the cap which is interesting when watching in a time lapse. The cap itself can grow about 4cms around and is usually in different colors but mostly a brownish color.

The gross thing about these mushrooms is that they have such a strong smell in which it attracts other gross visitors like flies. Ahhh, how much we love flies. Wanna know something else interesting and gross? Many Asian cuisines and markets like to serve these as a tasty meal. Okay, maybe it's not that disgusting but if this mushroom has a strong foul smell then how can one eat it? Apparently, eating it is not enough because many places use it as a medicine to treat disease of gastric or of any inflammatory problem. This mushroom can also possibly help improve the central nervous system, crazy right? What caught my eye was its appearance, looking at this mushroom makes me think of a bride. I know you see it too! Have any mushroom requests, let me know and I'll do my best to fill you in on the scoop!

I Promise This Is Not A Rant!

How can one simply express their love for mushrooms? Well, let’s give it a go. Every single day, I walk to work. Some days, I don't even work but still stroll around the neighborhood on an adventure. I like to walk around taking pictures of interesting things which is basically what mushrooms are. Capturing that moment is amazing, to walk by the development of fungi is outstanding. I can't express it  so let me try to explain my love for them. Think about something you love. Have you thought of it? Maybe a hobby you have or something you like to do, well that's how I feel towards different sites of fungi. I think it's amazing how something that helps our world by being a decomposer or simply becoming a use as herbs or medicine is everywhere. I enjoy Humboldt County because many people here tend to go mushroom hunting. Since we basically are the mushroom town, we have perfect weather for it to so I can't blame people for loving it. I can't wait until I learn more about fungi so I can go on a forest adventure and identify as many as possible.

What can I not stand about fungi? Nothing really but we are facing a problem in the UK. There are illegal foragers destroying our beautiful fungi. This is what I cannot stand. Many gangs are picking all these fungi to sell to restaurants or other consumers. This is almost the same as cutting down trees, mushrooms help our environment! This is not only happening in the UK but basically anywhere that has a great growth in fungi, I just hate hearing about such destruction being caused. Half of the mushrooms these people pick get tossed away which is just unnecessary to begin with. I can rant about this all day but I'll save you guys by not doing that. For those who love fungi, keep it real and continue what you do because there is so much to fungi and mushrooms and even parasitic fungi. Many can learn and some people have created medicines from different types of fungi which is insanely interesting!

The Apocalyptic War Between Insects and Fungi!

Have you ever seen an ant turn into a zombie? The specific parasitic fungus is called Cordyceps, this uses the body as a shell to grow in and reproduce. In this ants case the ant is not living anymore. So what makes it cool and spooky? Well, once this fungus takes over it's victims body and controls its mind it will leave this ant doomed. For this ants case, it'll take about 3 weeks for the fungus to completely develop from the exterior of the ant. Usually spores appear first and the fungus breaks through its head and the rest of its body. Usually then these types of fungus effects the insect causing the host to climb to the tops of branches or leaves so then it can be eaten and continue its cycle. Something interesting about these ants is that once another fellow ant notices that one of his buddies has gotten the terrible fungus, it carries it away from the colony so none get infected.

Ants are not the only ones to get attacked,
our friendly snails have been targeted as well. A parasitic worm called Leucochloridium takes over the snails eyes. What do these
worms do? They pulsate causing the snails to look they're at a rave! The point of the pulsating method is to mimic a maggot or caterpillar so that it'll get eaten by a predator such as a bird. Once this sneaky fungi makes his way into the bird it will reproduce in its stomach.
This is where it gets pretty gnarly and gross, the eggs are released into the birds feces and you can only guess where this goes next. New snails come along and eat that up! So what happens next? The whole process happens over and over again, wiping out many snails. The fungi inside the snail usually grows from a white tissue into some sort of tumor. Next, this fungus leaves larvae inside of the snails eye stalks, and you can fill in the rest. To be honest, i'm left feeling bad for all these insects that die out.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Our Coffee Is Under Attack!

A devastating fungus has decided to attack our precious coffee, the one thing we all need in our lives! In Guatemala the disease among these plants is spreading fast, it's airborne and speckles on top of the leaves causing them to die and fall off. In 2012, the climate began getting warmer causing this "coffee rust" to spread easier. Argueta is now fighting this battle as well. These farmers are going to suffer do to the conditions, not only are their supplies going low but their money is rocketing down.  In El Salvador the rate of this fungus spreading is about 74 percent which is insane! In Costa Rice, the rate is at 64 percent while in Nicaragua, it’s at 37 percent. The lowest rate which is in Honduras is at 25 percent. All these numbers add up, if this is all you grow then it will be a huge struggle to keep your infected numbers low. Southern Mexico produces a lot of the region’s coffee and since this fungus is a problem, the government is going to sweep out all these terrible plants and replant them as a project to help those in need.

Did you know that about 54% of people in our nation that are over 18 years drink coffee? As a big seller, people will have to fight this fungus back with a kick. Just like Argueta, we will have to replace old trees that were grown to repel the rust. If you notice any problems or the beginning stages of this fungus then quickly replace those plants or even stump the tree. Meaning that you will remove parts of the trees that are infected to help them grow properly and healthy.  The main point is to inform those farmers growing coffee and allowing them to act fast! We shall not lose to this coffee rust!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another Awesome Blog to Follow!

One of her awesome snaps of the Ink Caps!
I'm reviewing a fantastic blog called Mycologista by Lisa K. Suits, I had a difficult time trying to find a decent blog but instead I found an outstanding one. Why is this blog so amazing? Lisa takes her own pictures, it’s so natural. I feel as if I'm walking with her learning about all these different aspects on a specific mushroom. I love how simple her blog is too, you don’t have to worry about getting confused or losing your mind because the font and color throughout this page are easy to follow and easy to read. The labels throughout this blog are easy to find as well and she takes a little spin on them. The background of this blog doesn't have too much going on but connects with each of the pictures she takes. Aside from just taking pictures of mushrooms
and its surroundings, she takes pictures of nature friendly visitors. There are many pictures of turtles or bugs which are pretty cool, but there are numerous pictures of mushrooms and fungi.

Amanita Rubescens
The outline of this blog is very informative as well, the top gives a little information about herself and then there are many different links to different pieces you’d like to read about. For example, she has one on mushrooms which shows many pictures of mushrooms and the names so you can identify them. Then she has another section on the hikes she takes which could help foragers out there as well. I can’t get over the quality of her pictures though, it seems that she really cares about her posts and viewers. Also, if she hasn't been active lately then she would explain why. A blog that has great writing, great knowledge, amazing pictures, and cares about her followers is a blog that I would like to support and continue to read about!