Images 302-304 Blue and Orange Mushrooms

Have I mentioned that I live in a rain forest?  Most people think of rain forests as tropical, mainly in places like Brazil and Africa.  But the Nantahala Forest, where my home is located in Franklin, NC, is close to being a temperate rain forest (more than 55 inches of precipitation annually and a mean temperature of 39º to 54º F).  It is very damp at times and this is one of them.  You can almost wring the moisture from the air and I have found myself tapping the hygrometer dial on my weather station, convinced it must be stuck on 100%.  It isn’t.

But for this mushroom loving gal this is THE place to be. The ‘shrooms are popping up everywhere, in a rainbow of colors and shapes. I have taken to walking early in the a.m. to see what emerged overnight.  And while many may be termed mundane as far as mushrooms go, others are spectacular.

Take this blue mushroom.  It is, I think, an Anise-scented Clitocybe but, honestly, it is so hard to know when the field guide gives you this: “dingy green to bluish-green,  sometimes blue or nearly white”.  Well, that’s a lot of latitude.

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The shape seems right. I never thought to check its scent and by the time I had read the field guide and returned to check its scent it was gone. The field guide did mention it was edible and we have many fat squirrels and chipmunks around here.

Here is a photograph of its underside. The gills were spectacular in the morning light.

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And if blue mushrooms are too dull for you check out these beauties.

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They are no taller than a dime and they must not taste very good because they have been very long lasting. They are, I believe, Orange Mycena (Mycena leaiana). Once again our friends at Wikipedia provide some fascinating details.

Mycena leaiana, commonly known as the orange mycena or Lea’s mycena, is a North American species of saprobic fungi in the genus Mycena, family Tricholomataceae. Characterized by their bright orange caps and stalks and reddish-orange gill edges, they usually grow in dense clusters on deciduous logs. The pigment responsible for the orange color in this species has antibiotic properties.

That last sentence caught my eye. Another site I visited while learning about rainforests taught me that 1 in 4 ingredients in our medicines are derived from rainforest plants.  We really need to stop destroying them. According to one site, an area of a rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed each second.  ❧

 

Chris and Cooper

 

I’m really grateful to those of you who follow my blog. It is an honor to me that you give some of your time to read my words or look at my images.  I’m almost ashamed to admit I don’t follow too many bloggers but among those I do is Chris Condello’s: Green Thumbed Vagabond. Not every post but most of them. Chris presents a nice blend of poetry, gardening tips and life observations.  And his personal life is interjected just enough so that you respect him all the more for accomplishing the production of so much beauty…a lesser man might have just said, “F” it.

Chris’s most recent post is called My Little Buddy Cooper.  It’s about his dog, Cooper. Now, if you surf on Facebook at all you have seen your share of cute dogs but, trust me, Cooper is cute. He’s a Corgi. And he is presented in some wonderful images. You will just die for the one where he is running towards you with his tongue flying in the wind.

I wanted to share the wealth because that is part of blogging. Thanks Chris, keep up the good work.

Image #300 – In Its Prime

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An Amanita?

Everything has a prime…that time in the life cycle when all things “click.”  For humans the “prime” is elusive. Counter-intuitively, it seems there can be multiple “primes” when a life cycle spans more than six decades.  But for the mushroom on my hillside in North Carolina time is short and I believe I captured a Prime moment.

I snapped this picture yesterday. The ‘shroom almost yelled out to me.  It was poised, center-stage, in a brilliantly lit patch of decay.  By the time I fetched my camera the key-light had moved on but the mushroom was still an incredibly powerful presence.  Strong and vibrant, reaching for the sky.  It is, I think, some form of Amanita. When I returned today it seemed shriveled.  It had flattened out and something had nibbled on it.  My forest friends eat hearty in the summer, with all manner of mushrooms available along with berries and new buds.  Most mornings I awake to find deer munching on the apples from my trees. I don’t mind. There are plenty of apples and the only inconvenience is that the deer take all the low-hanging fruit so I must work harder to get the fruit that is left.  Working harder makes me realize I have passed my prime…at least my 6th decade prime…or so I think today.

I have been here for a week and have an almost visceral feeling of decompression. This small patch of land on Fawn Hill is a haven, a place to relax and enjoy just the being of life…however long that may be. ❧

 

 

Image #299 – Our Next Move

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DargonFly at Myakka River State Park

 

A Dragonfly ponders its next move, perched on a tree branch.  The complexity of this creature is overwhelming to me: four separate wings that are so sheer you can see through them and a “head” that is mostly eyes and those eyes, so I am told, do not see the world as we do.  Consider this paragraph from New Scientist:

We humans have what’s known as tri-chromatic vision, which means we see colours as a combination of red, blue and green. This is thanks to three different types of light-sensitive proteins in our eyes, called opsins. We are not alone: di-, tri- and tetra-chromatic vision is de rigueur in the animal world, from mammals to birds and insects.

Enter the dragonfly. A study of 12 dragonfly species has found that each one has no fewer than 11, and some a whopping 30, different visual opsins.

The dragonfly’s world is a multi-color, psychedelic landscape that is, of course, perfectly normal to the dragonfly.  How dull our world would be to this marvelous being. ❦

Alice’s Day

UnknownThanks to my friend Ellen Komp for informing me that it is Alice’s Day.  Did you know it is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland?  Neither did I, but Ellen posted a delighted tribute on her blog, Tokin’ Woman.  Check it out.

The blog commemorates the original Lewis Carroll story but also has a nice reference to Grace Slick who implored a generation to “Go Ask Alice.”  Many of us did … and received some interesting answers.  Perhaps that is why my blog has so many mushroom pictures.  ❧

 

Images #298-298 – An Orchid?

Coryanthus22015__0621___668Can you believe this provocative and somewhat off-putting image is an orchid?  To me it looks like an escapee from a set of Aliens but is actually a Coryanthes orchid.  It is otherwise known as a Bucket Orchid and the second view may explain why.

 

Coryanthus12015__0621___667Unlike a Venus Flytrap which lures insects to their deaths (thus feeding the plant) the Coryanthes uses insects to pollinate.  There are many kinds of Coryanthes orchids and my friend Bob, who has raised this orchid, has this one labeled Coryanthes macrantha.  Macrantha means “large flower” and that is certainly apt for this orchid which looks, to me, like a hanging slab of meat.

Is that part of the allure, the pretense of being a slab of meat?  I guess we’d need to ask the Stink Bugs and other flying insects that hovered around it. They, alas, are not talking. ❧