New and Old Things Emerging

Top Photo: Tiny yellow flower of Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber. The fruit of the Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber is about an inch long. They look more like tiny watermelons but have the taste of a cucumber with a lemony tang. These vines grow in many locations throughout our campus, wherever they’re not supposed to grow. I intended to plant this vegetable in my own personal garden at home this year but was sidetracked by other matters. I’ll make sure toRead more

A Stinkhorn and a Cardinal

Top Photo: May be Phallus rubicundus. Stinkhorns are fungi. They’re often found in mulch around plantings of trees, shrubs, or flowers. Originally egg-shaped and white, the red/orange horn arises from the “egg” in the substrate and develops a slimy brownish mass near the tip. This mass is the spore bearing material called a gleba. The gleba produces a putrid smell which attracts certain insects, including green bottle flies, to the stinkhorns. The bottle flies and other insects spread the sporesRead more

A Hairy Fungus

Above: Phycomyces, or pin mold, sporangiophores (stalks) and sporangia (round spore cases). A hairy mass of mold or fungus caught the attention of Museum Volunteer Sam as she was filling bird feeders. Superficially, it looked like fur. A closer look hinted at some sort of mold or fungus. At first I/we thought the stringy, filamentous fungus was growing up from the thistle or niger seed that was spilled along the ground near the bird feeders in Catch the Wind. ARead more

Another Mushroom

Poronidulus conchifer is a polypore fungus. Polypores are mushrooms found mainly on dead or living trees, which play an important part in wood decay, as you can imagine. I first saw the ones pictured somewhere along the path in Explore the Wild. At the time, I didn’t know what they were. They looked very much like bird’s nest mushrooms, sans eggs, but as I later found out, are not related. They were about 1/4” – 3/8” across. Bird’s nests areRead more

Something To Get Excited About

Near the end of the day, while searching in the woods for browse for the insects in the Butterfly House Insectarium, Insectarium Manager Leon discovered a rather large mushroom growing on a sweetgum tree. He, very excitedly, called me on the radio to invite me to come have a look at it. I swiftly called Ranger Martha to do the same. I had to run off to take care of other duties, but Ranger Martha, our resident mycologist, met withRead more

The Mysterious Red Tubular Growth

The voice on the radio (Animal Department Director, Sherry Samuels) said that there was a cluster of strange, red, tube-like fungi growing out of the ground next to the Lemur House and wondered if I knew what it was. I said that I didn’t know what it was but would stop by and have a look at them later. It was a few days before I finally made it to the site and, after having a look at the horn-shapedRead more

A Trip to the Mountains?

Thinking of going to the mountains to check out the fall leaves? Why waste precious fuel, money, and time (detouring around rock slides) when you can come to the Museum of Life + Science and see some of the most beautiful colors nature has to offer right here in your own backyard. Don’t believe me? Have a peek below. Convinced? Even if you miss the peak colors, there’s always something going on out-of-doors, up beyond the Main Plaza (where Grayson’sRead more