Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not Vegetable, Not Animal

Unidentified Ascomycetes
According to the latest stuff I'm reading, newsletters on the FungiMap site, Fungi are closer in kind to animals than to plants, except for the fact they don't move to get their food. But neither do sea sponges, so I can see a likeness.

They've been awarded their own kingdom. And the Kingdom of Fungi includes lichens, they apparently are fungi in a symbiotic relationship with alga.

The parts of fungi I've been so excited about lately are fruiting bodies of Macro Fungi (so called because they can be seen with the naked eye).

The little mob in the photo, though, are getting towards the teeny weeny size people my age can't see very clearly now.


So I was very pleased that my phone camera was up to the job even when I couldn't see what it was doing. One of those point-and-click situations. The "timber" the little things are growing on, are the air roots of a bangalow palm.

These "critters" are about 5 mm tall and they are the only ones of their kind I've ever seen. Still searching the field guides for their identity. There are only eleven all told so you can see I'm a little bit reluctant picking even one to get a closer look until maybe I meet someone with a microscope.

But you see the situation they are growing in? There's a bangalow blossom in one corner. Dead blossoms underfoot. A plant trying to muscle in. Detritus in the surrounds. The lower edge of the palm forming a gallery.

The scene doesn't look tidy. And that's the thing with biodiversity. It is only a word that means diversity of life. But it happens more, ie more diversity happens when things are allowed to be untidy. When dead blossoms aren't swept up. When lawn clippings aren't piled around the aerial roots of a palm. (The word aerial speaks for itself, air? Bangalows often grow in swampy ground.)

When tree litter is allowed to rot where it falls you get these tiny little treasures.

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