Cornell University

fungi

Hesperomyces-virescens-feature

Ladybug Fungi

They may be taking over the world, but they have problems too: They have an itch they can’t scratch. Their dead wear fur coats. They nuke their competitors with poisonous blood. Multicolored Asian ladybugs are host to three different fungi. They’re all bizarre and interesting, but if you are a ladybug, you will have a clear favorite.

Rsubnigricans-FofJapan

A deadly Russula

My students think of Russula species as cheerful mushrooms that are quite benign. They are often pleasingly colored, make good partners for trees, and have an interesting, brittle texture. Other than being practically impossible to identify, what’s not to like? But in eastern Asia, one Russula species kills half of the people who eat it.

Amazon mystery tongue, by Jens H. Petersen

Learning fungi

Fungi can be so unfamiliar in all their diverse forms and weird habits. Here’s a beautiful coffee table book to help you grasp the enormous diversity of the kingdom Fungi.

tape lift from page:  linen fibers, soot

How fungi grew on Cesalpino

Cesalpino would not have been surprised to find mold growing on his own book, published in 1583. However, he would have disagreed with us about the nature of fungi and where they come from. Also, if fungi have souls, where do they keep them?

Eames Bog

The Cornell Hoot

On the origins and practice of the Cornell Hoot, a mycological finding tool. Executing the Cornell Hoot is sure to make you find more mushrooms, grow more hair, make more friends (of a certain kind), and stay safely found.

Exobasidium vaccinii on Azalea pericylmenoides

Azalea divinity

Sure, azaleas have pretty flowers. But who says gardens have to be about pretty flowers and tasty fruit? Cornell has one garden devoted to poisonous plants, and any mycologist-gardener might cherish a bed of rusty plants, smutted grasses, and these fantastic fungus-induced “apples.”

Woolly mammoths, from art by Mauricio_Antón

Mammoth Poo Fungi

Woolly mammoths have been extinct in North America for 13,000 years. What caused their extinction, and what did they eat for a snack? These two questions are related to each other only by… Fungi! Also, bonus! we explore the many words for poo.

Rear view of the salt shaker

Flying salt shakers of death

Poetry and dirt inspired Angie Macias to explore buzzy, hummy cicadas. And the fungi that live to eat them. They are butt-devouring species of the fungus Massospora– coming to your backyard this summer!

Mushrooms by Alan Weir from flickr

ZAP! Lightning, Gods, and Mushrooms

Everyone knows mushrooms pop up after thunderstorms, right? Japanese mushroom farmers sometimes deploy electric shocks to get their shiitake mushrooms to fruit. So, what would happen if you wandered around in the forest zapping the ground?

About

Most people don't pay much attention to fungi, which include things like mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. Here at Cornell we think they're pretty fascinating. In fact, even the most disgusting foot diseases and moldy strawberries are dear to our hearts. We'd like to talk to you about fungi, so that like us, you too can tell gross stories at the dinner table. Afterwards, maybe you'll notice some things you would have overlooked before, and we think this could be good for the planet.

Kathie T. Hodge, Editor

Beneath Notice, our book of borescopic mycology.

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