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.
Fungi are secretive and elusive things. It’s hard to get to know them. They expose themselves shyly, briefly, and often bafflingly. Like these twinkly earthstars, which are hiding more than one secret.
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.
There’s nothing more fascinating than watching molds grow in time lapse. Or is there? This student post describes the inner life of Rhizopus, a remarkably busy and exuberant genus of molds. It is probably eating something in your kitchen as we speak! Today we admire the magnificence of Rhizopus eating your lunch, and introduce its surprising and extraordinary sidekick.
What better to find on your bedside table in the middle of the night than a glowing fungus? It’s Panellus stipticus, and it has talent. If you don’t live near me in the northeast, where all the glowing is going on, have a look at our movie.
Dear Professor Hodge, please explain sexual compatibility in fungi. OK, here goes. I enlisted the help of a coauthor, and together we found this surprisingly difficult to write. Fungi are wondrously strange, and sometimes barely fathomable. And what could be more mysterious than sex? We’ve included a doozy of a video to improve your reading experience.
Since we’d rather not let gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves off entire forests, we’re pretty happy about Entomophaga maimaiga, a fungus that attacks them. In this post we take a close-up, time lapse look at the devouring of a caterpillar by a fungus that is an effective agent of biological control.
Eyes tired from too much reading? Use your ears for a change to listen to Science Friday do fungi in a radio show called “Fungi: the good, the bad, and the edible.” The show features your humble editor, Kathie Hodge, along with mycologist and author David Fischer, and guests Kelli Hoover and Arturo Casadevall. We field calls about everything from foxfire to species concepts and the extraterrestrial origins of fungi(!).
Inky caps are mushrooms that’re stately when they first appear, but dissolve into embarrassing black ink upon maturity. Why do they do that, and how? You can actually write in their stinky ink! How do I know the ink stinks? I don’t want to talk about it.