|Hamemelis, Witch Hazel, |
lighting up the garden on Winter Solstice and beyond
|Hamemelis, Witch Hazel|
on the same tree, with a winter sky behind
Puffballs are unmistakeable and their name describes them well - they have a very short (or no) stalk and they don't carry their spores on external gills like so many 'mushrooms' do. Instead, their spores are carried within, in a round stomach-like body called--appropriately enough--a gasterothecium. When ripe, this splits and the spores escape. Unlike some of their relatives, puffballs don't shoot their spores out of their case (if they were, the spores would be called ballistospores) but instead the spores are puffed out only when the fungus is hit by raindrops or the paw of a passing mini-schnauzer. The puffballs we saw were about two or three centimetres across, but I do remember a giant unripe puffball, about 15cm across, dug up years ago by my father from a secret location, which we sliced like a loaf of bread and fried with oil and butter and a little garlic and bacon. Delicious. By the way, puffballs were also known as Ram's Farts (!) in rural Ireland when my father was a boy - perhaps they still are? Oh hang on, I've just spotted on wiki that the Genus name (Lycoperdon) means wolf-fart.
|Winter sunshine in Djouce|
|Puffball (probably Lycoperdon perlatum)|
|Ripe puffball; fresh from its audition for Alien XXIII|
|It's the time of the year to notice fungi in the woods, |
don't know what this one is though
|Winter's also a good time for spotting mosses ...|
|... and ferns: here's Polypodium vulgare on a tree limb ...|
|... and the Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant) leaning, like Narcissus, over a still pool|
Have a good week all.