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 #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. ❦

Images# 290-294 – Tulip Poplar

Tulip Poplar 2015 004Discoveries are common place on Fawn Hill.  I had always assumed the tall trees along the driveway were poplars but this year I have the good fortune to be here as they bloom and, as you can see, the blooms are lovely. I thought they must be tulip poplars which they are but now I have learned they are not poplars at all.

Liriodendron tulipifera, the tulip tree, is actually a member of the magnolia family and these two are prime specimens. Tulip Poplar 2015 002 Our friends at Wikipedia have once again provided a wealth of information.   I was relieved to learn they are not poplars which seem to have a nasty habit of becoming very tall and then rotting out from the inside.

But these are tulip trees and are prized lumber. They were used by the Indians for dugout canoes and its lumber has been called Canoewood.  According to Wikipedia it is one “of the largest and most valuable hardwoods of eastern North America.”  It can grow to a height of 190 feet!  Ours would seem to be about 60 feet. The average size is around 70 feet.  The birds enjoy their seeds and humans can fall in love with their blossoms.  ❧

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