Cornell University

plant disease

red-cockaded woodpecker

Flying fungi

Meet the red-cockaded woodpecker, a black and white bird with a real knack for making holes in living pine trees. Read on to learn of its incredible relationship with a shelf fungus that eats the heartwood of those same pines.

Puccinia minutissima on Decodon

Connecting the Rusts

Rust fungi are formidable plant pathogens that have big impacts in agriculture and natural ecosystems. Plant pathologist J.C. Arthur took up the great challenge of figuring out their life cycles.

impatiens downy mildew, by M. Daughtrey

Hope for Impatiens

How a familiar garden flower, through sex, sheer luck, and the attention of one man, rose to a pinnacle of popularity only to be suddenly destroyed. All thanks to an unassuming downy mildew that was literally lurking in the shadows.

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.”

puffball lad

Shots from the archive: puffball lad

We’ve got some impressive collections of old photographs here at Cornell. At the Cornell Plant Pathology Herbarium, we have 60,000 or so. Our images are of fungi, plant disease, agricultural methods, plus mycologists and plant pathologists. You can browse a subset of our images online. Some would make good quirky art to hang in your apartment (try an archive search on ginseng, or potato)…

sooty blotch

Supermarket Mycology. Flyspeck disease of apples

People get fussy about their apples, and tend to reject them if they’re bruised, or have nasty fungal lesions on them. But flyspeck is a subtle disease, and you’ve probably eaten it many times. I have, and I’m none the worse for it. Here we visit two different apple diseases, flyspeck and sooty blotch, in full rotating glory.


When strawberries go bad

What could be better than succulent fruit, rotting in time lapse? And doesn’t everyone want to know more about the fungi that rot strawberries? These are rhetorical questions.

CUP 25787

Something funny in the herbarium

You never know what you’ll stumble across in the herbarium. It’s a treasure trove of irreplaceable specimens, undescribed species, and occasionally, jokes.

is that a sheep?

Mystery liverwort fungus, chapter 3

What could it be, this liverwort thing? Has anyone ever seen this before? FAM pursues the fungus through the musty dusty literature and the well-stocked but torturous passageways of his own brain. Finally, the magical powers of Santa Claus are invoked.


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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