Fairy Rings and Harvesting of Mushrooms

DanielG979 danielg979 at aol.com
Sun Dec 29 22:18:48 EST 1996

>>>>mschaech at SUNSTROKE.SDSU.EDU (Moselio Schaechter) WROTE:

>Regarding the issue of the effect of picking mushrooms,
>ASTROGRAPH at JUNO,COM", in mentioning fairy ring mushrooms, uses >perhaps
the worst possible example.It seems obvious that fairy rings grow by
>extension of the mycelium, not by spore dispersal.
> Thus, in this case at least, picking fruiting bodies may
>well have a negligible effect, just as when a lawn mower cuts the flowers
>of grass on a lawn.
****Beware of what seems obvious****

I disagree strongly with your off the cuff appraisal of fairy rings and
their genesis.  ALL mushrooms depend upon mycelial expansion.  The
concentrations of spores are determined HOWEVER by the shape of the
mushroom which begins the process. It is rudimentary to conclude the shape
of the fairy ring reflects the shape of the original mushroom of the ring.
The circular shape of the spores as they drop to the ground in a radial
patern around the stem with the newest and freshest food to be found at
the circumfenence of the cap, determines the direction that the mycelium
travels to find fresh food to incorporate into its continual process of
growth and renewal.  As the process continues over centuries the mushrooms
continue to be formed in the outwardly CIRCULAR pattern which reflects the
mycelium reaching outward toward new nutritional sources rather than the
backward progression inward to already digested resources inside the ring.
 As new fruiting bodies emerge, they drop spores around the circumference
of the cap,-- but only the spores on the outside of the circle (ring) are
able to find food, some of them grow and mix their mycelium strands with
the existing stock of mycelium of the expanding ring.  This new production
helps the mycelium  to span small areas without sufficient nutritional
resources.  This is invisible to the casual observer.  See L.C.C. Krieger,
he explained this very clearly at the turn of the century.  Fairy rings
are formed like a pebble being thrown into a pond creating waves of growth
from the center where the original spore dropped. Physics in a context of
botany,  really it's quite fascinating, don't you think??? 

To underscore my main point: ONLY CUT THE STEMS OF MATURE MUSHROOMS!!!

Your lawn mower analogy is inept.  When an immature mushroom is picked and
ingested and its spores are deposited into your sewage system it is NOT
the same as your lawn mower riding over the dandelions in your lawn.  The
dandelion is able to disperse its seed in a nuturing cultural medium of
your lawn upon mowing.  Imagine that same dandelion seed immersed in
hydrochloric stomach acid and calculate the chances of its survival to
produce a dandelion.

Michael        Astrograph at juno.com 

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