Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Missouri fungi and other spring woodland finds--Polyporus arcularius

Well! It’s turning out to be a good thing I got so far behind in my posts—if I was up to date I would have nothing to post now. It is so dry here I’m not even bothering to hike until we get some good rain. I am frightened.

But here’s a few things from April 2013—when the world was moist…

Polyporus arcularius

Polyporus arcularius. According to one source, this mushroom has 31 synonyms! How are we supposed to keep up?

Polyporus arcularius pore surface

The underside of the cap of this polypore. There is a little smudge just right of center, it’s a Collembola, a springtail. I didn’t see it until this was on my monitor. They’re only about 1/16” long. Springtails are everywhere. One species is the “snow flea” of legend, that is sometimes out on snow on sunny late winter days! I have never seen one of those.

They jump by means of a kind of spring-loaded catapult called a furcula. Springtails are considered indicators of good soil health (not necessarily in your houseplants, though. There can be huge localized populations of them, more than a potted plant can handle).

Polyporus arcularius stem and pore surface

I had a little side-hobby of confusing these with Polyporus alveolaris because the pore surface is similar. I think I got it now though. These have an obvious stem, and P. alveolaris runs heavy on the orange side.

inside a rotting stump

I peeked inside a dead tree and saw this. Wood rot forms are determined by which kind of rot is working on it (also assorted wood-chewing insects).

deer skeleton

These things happen…

I’m not trying to be a tough guy, but I do like bones. Probably gained appreciation of them from an outstanding figure structure drawing class in college. Barry Schactman, wherever you are, thank you for being of the old school!

deer skull articulation

Gee, those skull sutures look just like a meandering river.

wet sycamore seed

Above, a wet sycamore seed ball, darkened after a nice spring rain. This may seem pretty mundane, but later (in the past) I found something so cool about sycamore seed balls I’m including this as a warm-up.

white wrinkled seed

A tiny wrinkled Hackberry seed pod.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Spring 2013, a few ephemeral Missouri wildflowers

Spring had enough rain (for my purposes, anyway), so it went well. Here begins 2013, still getting caught up, but stick with me, there’s some awesome things coming up in future posts from the past!

Here is some February-March-April, rounding up a few of the usual wildflower suspects, with some surprise extra growing things.

trillium trillium silvergrey

Looks like two different species to me…Missouri has 7 species of trillium.
Need. More. Field guides.

virginia bluebell and dutchmans breeches buds
Mertensia virginica (left) and Dicentra cucullaria
Virginia bluebell and Dutchman's breeches, buds and leaves. Not the most compelling image, but I liked how they were right next to each other, and both at around the same bud stage. Perhaps they know each other outside of work.

dutchman buds
Dicentra cucullaria buds
Every year now I get carried away with these. I just can’t get over the shape of the buds. If you were to ask most people to describe a flower bud, they would not come up with anything close to this.
dutchmans breeches  buds

They sway in the breeze, and they are tiny, so I have a hard time convincing my point-and-shoot camera to focus on them. Still, they are lovely. They look like watercolors to me.

Dutchmans breeches

Their soft feathery leaves are quite nice, too. There is a hint of blue in them.

unknown brown bracket

No idea what that is, above (some kind of bracket polypore), but I know I like the shapes.

false rue anemone Enemion biternatum
Enemion biternatum

That’s false rue anemone. I bet everybody who has a nature blog probably has a picture of those flowers, but I am posting it here to tell you the easy way to tell these apart from real rue anemone. False rue anemone flowers almost always have five petals, and they're mostly white, and how many letters are in the word “false” and "white"? Bam!

Of course there are many other ways to tell them apart when they’re not in bloom, but at least now you have that.

false rue anemone leaves Enemion biternatum
Got mucro?

All those little white dots on the false rue anemone leaf tips are called “mucro”. A mucro is a point on the end of something. Don’t use that word unless referring to something in biology or zoology (or Scrabble).

I wonder what they’re for.

Houstonia pusilla, tiny bluet-001

Above are some sweet little bluets, Houstonia caerulea. The whole flower is only about 1/4” across.

I don’t see these every year, I wonder if they’re short-lived and I miss them by not hiking on the right day.

Houstonia pusilla, tiny bluet seed pods-008
Houstonia caerulea seed pods

Found some seed pods too.

Cladonia lichen

Cladonia! A type of lichen.

Cladonia lichen close

I first saw this in February, and two months later it was still there, unchanged as far as I could tell. Lichen is persistent! See text accompanying the jelly lichen for why all I have is the genus for this.