Cornell University

small things

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

Homer-feature

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.

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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