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Friday, November 30, 2012

Fruiting Bodies

What we normally think of as individual mushrooms like those above are generally most likely the fruiting bodies of a mycelium somewhat like the flowers on a tree branch. But the mycelium is a mass of thread-like fibres below ground rather than a branch or stem. Not all mycelia produce fruiting bodies. It takes two compatible mycelia to join together to give rise to fruiting bodies such as mushrooms. Some of these mycelia are very small but others, according to Wikipedia, are very large.
...the largest organism in the world? This 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) site in eastern Oregon had a contiguous growth of mycelium before logging roads cut through it.Estimated at 1,665 football fields in size and 2,200 years old, this one fungus has killed the forest above it several times over, and in so doing has built deeper soil layers that allow the growth of ever-larger stands of trees. Mushroom-forming forest fungi are unique in that their mycelial mats can achieve such massive proportions.
—Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running


Dean Lewis said...

Very cool, a miniature forest.
The blade-shape structures on the underside look like they could have a radiant-fin cooling effect.
Not hard to imagine the vital role mushrooms play in building a large, healthy forest soil.

William Kendall said...

Those are nice!