Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heterotroph Invasion

This summer has been a good one for mushrooms and other non-photosynthetic, non-motile denizens of my yard, possibly because of unusually wet weather up until a couple of weeks ago. First up, two species of Monotropa, a genus the Ericaceae (heath family), that look superficially like fungi, but which are actually flowering plants that rely on a more or less parasitic relationship with real fungi for their organic nutrient needs.

Monotropa uniflora, Indian Pipe.

Monotropa hypopithys, Pinesap. This species is relatively uncommon, and is associated with pine trees. Presumably, it parasitizes fungi that have a symbiotic relationship with pine roots.

Next up, three things from the fungal kingdom. I don't know from mushrooms, so if anybody has ideas on identifications, leave a comment.

This one is probably Boletus chrysenteron. It's alarmingly large, about 20 cm across.

Boletus sp.? This one is growing under Eastern Hemlock trees, if that tells you mycologists anything. [Edited to add: possibly Leccinum sp.]

This thing has pores on the underside of its cap, like the boletes, and is growing under White Oaks. I'm coming up empty on possible names with my mushroom book. [edited to add: probably Strobilomyces floccopus, the Old Man of the Woods.]

I've also had these hanging around the neighborhood, mostly at dusk in pine trees. I'm no zoologist, but I checked some books, and they are probably some kind of chordate. Definitely metazoans, at any rate.