Outdoors: Nature Notes
Saturday 08 August 1998
Prolonged heat allows the mycelium, or fibrous root-system, to grow large and strong, so that when rain comes and the temperature falls, the plant has the energy to throw up fruit above ground level.
After the prolonged heat of 1976, whole fields literally turned white when rain at last fell in September. But without sufficient warmth all activity remains subterranean.
Even if we now get a heatwave, it may be too late. But dedicated fungus hunters never give up, and much remains mysterious about their quarry.
Why do mushrooms always seem to grow in some fields, or parts of fields, and not in others? Why are some immediately infested with worms, which eat their way up the stalk, while others remain deliciously intact? Height above sea-level, inclination (to north, south, east or west), sun and shade seem to make little difference.
One traditional belief is that mushrooms thrive on stallions' droppings - and this is probably because stallions, like donkeys, habitually dung on one spot, thus creating concentrated deposits of manure.
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
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The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
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