Cornell University

fungi

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?

A.D. White House at Cornell University in 2012

Atkinson’s Lost Inocybe

Remember that Donald Rumsfeld quote, on known knowns and unknown unknowns? This post is about a mushroom we know, Inocybe olpidiocystis, about which we really don’t know anything. It grew right here on the Cornell campus, once. One thing I can say for sure: I know I don’t know it.

A platypus!

Bully for the Platypus

Tasmanian platypuses are coming down with a fungal disease of late. It’s caused by a fungus previously only found sickening amphibians. A platypus is a strange and baffling creature, and so is this fungus, Mucor amphibiorum.

New Growth: Hairy Homer

In which we grow some hair for Homer Simpson, using Phycomyces blakesleeanus, a whiskery mold. Also, we update you on what’s going on behind the scenes at the Cornell Mushroom Blog.

refreshingly fungusy

I ate fungus slime, and it made my breath minty fresh

Fungi have been harnessed by industry to make all kinds of things that might surprise you. It’s tricky to get through a week without eating something fungal. Today we bring you pullulan, with which you make edible films and other clever things. It’s a compound produced by a slippery mold, Aureobasidium pullulans.

George F. Atkinson

Here at the Cornell fungal herbarium, we’ve been busy curating and digitizing the massive fungus collection of George F. Atkinson. His influential work in the late 1800s and early 1900s took mycology a big step forward. Here’s an intro to Atkinson and his mycological legacy, written by CUP’s Assistant Curator Torben Russo.

The Lichens of Tower Road

It’s possible to walk down a street and not see any fungi… for some people. CUP Herbarium Curator Scott LaGreca sees lichens wherever he goes. Here he talks about the tree-dwelling lichens along Cornell’s main thoroughfare, Tower Rd, and what they suggest about air quality on our upstate New York campus.

Explore your world with tape

The man with the mouldy car needed an answer fast. It was not a matter of the tax value of the mould or the car, just that law required that the car be inspected. The unionists being unwilling, he would enter the car himself. What should he do? I had a vision of him removing the entire seat and hauling it to my lab, and then me trying to flatten it so it could be stored in our herbarium. But instead, I told him…

Rhizopus: bad hair day

Postal conks

The best gifts keep on giving. This artist’s conk (Ganoderma applanatum) came to me by post. It turned out to be quite literally full of surprises. Eleven unexpected organisms popped out of it: one other fungus, and ten fascinating beetles. Also, and this was really quite satisfying: when it arrived, I knew I had won the argument.

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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