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Rare urban mushrooms

Mushrooms and other fungi are common in urban environments, but like (for example) urban birds, while there may be many individual organisms, there is reduced biodiversity. The kind of fungi that are common in cities are those that feed on wood chips on landscaping, and on dead wood. This latter category may be seen only infrequently, since dead wood is usually cleared away rather than left to rot (grow fungi) in the city.

Another category of fungi are those that are mycorrhyzal. These are fungi that grow in association with living plant roots, in a form of mutualism. The kind of mycorrhyzal fungi that produce mushrooms grow amongst tree roots. The fungus takes some of the tree's photosynthesis-produced food, and in return helps the tree absorb water and other nutrients. It may take many years for this relationship to become established, and to result in mushrooms. The average lifespan of an urban tree is less than ten years, so most trees in the city will not have mycorrhyzal fungi in their midst.

Fortunately, the Riverway in Boston and Brookline is lined with hundred-year old beech and oak trees, planted when Fredrick Olmsted designed the park in the late 19th century. This week we've seen mycorrhyzal mushrooms from the Amanita, Bolete, Lactarius and Russula groups appear. Many of them are colorful and beautiful. Photographs are by cottonmanifesto who already posted them on her own journal, and at mycology. We don't know the species of these, so if anyone does, let us know.

An Amanita

A velvety-topped mushroom from the Bolete group, possibly a Tylopilus.

I thought these little Boletes were the same as the above, but now I don't think so

A pair of Russulas. The white powder on the cap is a dusting of spores from a neighboring Russula that was picked.

A lovely Lactarius

Lactarius mushrooms "bleed" milky fluid when cut (a protective adaptation?).

Many Bolete-type mushrooms "bruise" when injured (and the color of the bruising can be used to identify the mushroom.)

I sure wish I knew what these two are!!


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
Gah, I need to shut up and just take pictures. Your posts always make so much more sense than mine. :)
Jul. 1st, 2005 01:55 am (UTC)
these have not loaded well for me - only about half have loaded though i've hit reload a couple of times.
anyway the ones i can see are very pretty! :) i gained new respect for grey squirrels when i found out they eat amanitas.
Jul. 2nd, 2005 09:08 am (UTC)
Great images. I love the dog paw visible in the Lactarius pic. :-)

Oct. 4th, 2006 12:30 pm (UTC)
Urban Fungus
I have found some fungus in and around nyc. Here is a link to some of my picks. I have no clue what the different species are, i'm a fungi-noob. :)

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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