This week we have been learning more about fungus and mushrooms, how the work and how to find them in your own backyard, or anywhere for that matter! Did you know that the mushroom is actually called the ‘fruit body’? It is like an apple is to the tree it grows from. The mushroom is actually the fruit!
One of the first things we investigated was the anatomy of a mushroom: the stem, the skirt, the cap, the roots and the stuff under the cap, otherwise known as tubes, spines, ridges and gills! You can tell them apart by their names and shapes. Tubes are well…. little tubes that are not attached to the stem, but ridges are actually part of the underside of the cap! Cool! Spines are a type of tube but they aren’t hollow. And finally, the most dangerous and certainly the one you should NEVER harvest in the wild (unless you are a seasoned mushroom hunter) are the ones with gills. Usually, the mushrooms with gills are poisonous so don’t touch one if you happen to find a patch.
After learning about the fruit body anatomy, we went on a hike into the Saugatuck Dunes, through the forest looking all around for mushrooms of any kind. We had recently listened to a podcast by Radio Lab about fungus, mycelium and their inter-connectedness and interdependence on trees so we went looking with the keen awareness of how everything is connected by their proximity in the forest. If you have a chance, you should listen to that podcast – we LOVE Radio Lab!!
Check out some pictures of the mushrooms and fungus we found. It was tougher than we thought it would be! Sneaky little fungi :0)
Just to make things more interesting, we made mushrooms out of paper. We think they came out pretty cool! You can make them too – check out the DIY video here.
If you still want another mushroom craft, check this post on our blog from a few years back.
So! There you have it! We are starting to grow our own mushrooms in the next few weeks, so be sure to check back to see how it went!
NOTE: Featured Image was courtesy of: 4/bp.blogspot.com