Montag, 28. November 2011

Plant of the Day (November 28th, 2011) Armillaria solidipes Peck.

Today's “Plant of the Day” is not a real plant but a fungus (however, fungi are also a part of plant science; while the zoology has got the microbes, which are also no real animals in the strict sense ;-)). The name of this fungus is Armillaria solidipes Peck. from the Physalacriaceae; known as “Dunkler Hallimasch” in German (unfortunately, I've found no English name).

A. solidipes - stock

It's a large fungus. The cap has a diameter of 3 to 10 centimetres (sometimes 20). The young cap is hemispherical but will become more flat or curved later. The outer surface of A. solidipes is flesh-brown to reddish-brown and covered with dark-brown scales. The gills (“Lamellen” in German) on inner site are bulged to straight. Gills of younger individuals are white, while the gills of older fungi are mottled reddish-brown.

The stem is white, with an average height of 15 centimetres and 3 centimetres in diameter. They're fibrous and become hollow in the old. The spores are also white and have a diameter of 10 micrometres. The whole fungus has a pleasant, earthy odor, which reminds a little bit of Maggi (a German soup sauce).

 
A. solidipes - mushroom & gills

A. solidipes can be found all over the world as parasite on dead and living conifers. One individual of this species, a fungus in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, is also the biggest living creature of the world. Its mycelium (the totality of all hyphae) has an area of 965 ha and a total weight of nearly 600 tons. In some regions, this species has become problematic, because it can kill some trees very fast.

Regarding the edibility: the raw mushroom is poisonous.

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