fairy rings

Russ Bulluck lrbulluc at unity.ncsu.edu
Thu Sep 30 11:16:03 EST 1999

Woolspin wrote:

> Can someone explain the phenomena around the fairy ring mushrooms?  I just saw
> a 8ft ring with some large mushrooms.  Very cool. What makes them grow like
> that?

The way I've heard it, the fungi grow out from a single point source, and continue
to grow underground until conditions are right for fruiting, in much the same way
that fungi or non-motile bacteria grow on plates.  In theory (and likely in
practice, as was shown for the largest clonal organism in Michigan or Wisconsin,
the Armillaria mellea, i think, that covered a huge number of acres) all the fairy
ring mushrooms would likely have the same molecular fingerprint (by RFLP, or other

That's my answer. . . any others?
Russ Bulluck
Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Plant Pathology
North Carolina State University
PO Box 7616
Raleigh, NC  27695-7616


The soil population is so complex that it manifestly cannot
be dealt with as a whole with any detail by any one person,
and at the same time it plays so important a part in the soil
economy that it must be studied.
--Sir E. John Russell
The Micro-organisms of the Soil, 1923

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