11-03-14 Field Note

Mushrooms emerged from saturated ground after autumn rains, and blister rust symptoms appeared on a rust-resistant western white pine seedling.

Last week’s cold front pushed in from the west and dusted peaks in the Mission Mountains with new snow.
Recent rainfall generated an abundance of fungal fruiting bodies. Dozens of shaggy manes (Coprinus comatus) popped up through the gravel along the side of the road near camp.
Shaggy manes’ immature spore-producing structures (“basidia”) color gills reddish-brown. When the spores mature and fall, they stain the stem and vegetation beneath an inky black.
Squirrels or other rodents may have severed the heads from the many cap-less stems I found, but more likely a fellow two-legged hunter is the culprit. Shaggy manes make a great addition to stews and pasta.
”Earth tongue” mushrooms in the Genus Neolecta sprout up underneath pine trees in the same spot almost every year. These fungi represent one of the oldest lineages of Ascomycota known to form complex fruiting bodies (Landvik et al. 2001).
A few species of boletes also popped up along the roadside. Pores instead of gills (arrow, inset), and shiny, slimy caps distinguish these inedible fungi.
Numerous other fungi grew half hidden by litter on the forest floor.
Orange jelly fungus (Tremella mesenterica) inflates reliably on the top bridge after autumn rains.
Some fungi are much less welcome than others. Signs of blister rust infection (Cronartium ribicola) appeared on this 9 year old rust-resistant western white pine. The infection has already started to girdle the stem, and this tree will probably not survive much longer.
Raindrops hang from electric fence wire and temporarily house a miniature, upside-down forest and sky.
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Posted on 11/3/2014 by Lorinda Bullington
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