It’s only a few weeks until the start of Autumn, the time of year that means mushrooms! In a small strip of grass outside my home that encloses some trees, a fairy ring is doing it’s best to form, although it is too big now to make a complete circle in the narrow space it’s found itself in.
Known in folklore as places fairies, elves, and sometimes witches would congregate to dance, fairy rings are caused by a single fungus growing underground. As it spreads it’s mycelium out in equal subterranean directions, mushrooms will sprout in a circular mat of fine t
ubular threads called hyphae. Each year the circle grows larger, and as the mycelium in the centre gradually dies out, the fungus takes on the appearance of a ring!
There are numerous species of mushroom that grow in this manner; I believe my fairy ring to be Clitocybe nebularis, also known as Cloud Funnel. Apparently they’re edible, but I don’t think they look very appetizing!
There are a lot of reports online of a ring in Belfort, France reaching over 2000 feet in diameter and being an estimated 700 years old; however I think this is a case of the internet eating itself, and of course I’m adding to the meal simply by repeating this unsubstantiated factoid.
Have a great night and remember to take care of yourselves, everyone!