Kingdom: Fungi, Phylum: Basidiomycota
We just finished Module 4 in Exploring Creation with Biology. For this module the students were to take a long walk and collect various mushrooms. Since it rained heavily the night before class time, we ended up with very little specimens.
I like to participate in the labs, so I went out walking in the rain with my daughter. We found a bunch of beautiful specimens and one of them was a huge cluster of orange mushrooms. I carefully placed the specimens on a tray and left them in the garage. The next morning, I found the big beautiful cluster of mushrooms in a nasty gooey mess, covered in worms. It was gross! I did not take a picture. Things covered in little white worms will not be photographed at the Applie’s home. I have my limits, you know.
The photo below is a collection of mushrooms I got on a different walk. You can see that the shrooms are not fully opened. The button is what comes up through the ground just before it fills with water and opens into the caps you see above the ground.
Here is what it looks like while still in the ground.
This mushrooms is part of a Fairy Ring. It shows up in my neighbor’s yard a couple times a year, since 2007, and each time it does get bigger. The rings are formed with the mycelium in the center has used all the food source in the soil and dies out. The new hyphae spread out to obtain more nutirents.
We had trouble finding Basidiospores, which on the mushroom’s spores in the basidia. Click here to see some photos on-line.
Now let’s get to a fun activity. Make a mushroom print.
Find a large specimen, with the cap fully open. Cut off the stipe and place the cap with the gills down on a colored construction paper.
Cover the cap with a bowl and let it sit for 24 hours.
The next day carefully take off the bowl.
A print of the gills. Pretty cool! This would a be great time to scrape some of this off and look at it under a microscope. I would have done that, but I didn’t have my microscopes with me at the time. 😦 It’s too bad you can’t keep these.