Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Earth tongues, oh my!

These fungi are commonly called earth tongues, which, in itself, makes them utterly fascinating. How can you not love an organism called an earth tongue? These particular earth tongues, Geoglossum sp. took me by surprise, fruiting in a fairly busy part of Howarth Park. I'm constantly amazed at what I find in this little city park, practically underfoot, and no one else seems to notice. I stopped to check a spot that produces lots of pretty mushrooms earlier in the season and found a small group of these strange but lovable fungi. I've actually been looking for another earth tongue, Trichoglossum hirsutum, which was the first earth tongue that I discovered. I thought I saw some last week, but now they're gone.
It has a velvety stem that's covered with minute hairs, while the Geoglossum that I found today has a scaly, sticky stem. According to Michael Kuo at MushroomExpert.com :
The little black "Earth Tongues" of the Geoglossaceae family are a nightmare to identify--but if you are a microscope geek, they often reward you with fascinating and funky microscopic features.
I've been meaning to dust off Greg's college microscope and start looking at the big box of spores I've collected in the past year. Perhaps I ought to start with earth tongues!

1 comment:

  1. Your sketches are always so amazing. I feel like I'm exploring an unknown land - the magical world of fungi. :)

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