Fairy Rings and Harvesting of Mushrooms
zoyd at ix.netcom.com
Mon Dec 30 02:24:55 EST 1996
Eric Robb Siegel wrote:
> An interesting alternative to the generally accepted model of how fairy
> rings grow. What experiment would you devise that could distinguish
> between the two possibilities?
> On 30 Dec 1996, DanielG979 wrote, among other things::
> > 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???
It is an interesting alternative, but I tend to side with the theory
that the mycelium is the driving force in forming fairy rings and not
spore dispersal. I believe that spore dispersal's primary "purpose" is
to develop new colonies and genetic recombination. It would be
interesting to observe fairy rings during low fruiting periods to see if
the ring expands only in the areas where sporocarps have developed.
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