Fascinated by Fungi
July 13, 2012
By SVT Executive Director Ron McAdow.
Last month Wolbach Farm had a distinguished visitor: Dr. Lawrence Millman of Cambridge. Larry is the author of a new book entitled Fascinating Fungi of New England. Larry’s talk emphasized the importance of mycorrhizal species in a healthy forest. Ha ha if you don’t know what mycorrhizal means. Neither did this writer until he looked it up in Larry’s book. It turns out that some fungi wrap their underground filaments (aka hyphae) around the roots of trees. This sheath helps the trees take up nutrients and, as if in exchange, receives carbohydrates produced by the tree’s photosynthesis. Fungi that engage in this symbiotic relationship are termed mycorrhizal.
I love to take pictures of mushrooms. Sometimes my fellow staff members counsel me to include fewer of them in my slide presentations. I’ll only put two here. The red-capped one was at Wolbach Farm and is in the genus Russula, according to Larry. The other was on the trail at Schoolhouse Pond in Wayland; it’s an Amanita.
Copies of Fascinating Fungi of New England are for sale at the SVT office. It’s one of the more informative and beautifully-illustrated books I’ve come across in a long time.