Monday, 11 February 2013
What is Mycelium?
Briefly, mycelium is a thread-like material that usually remains hidden underground in soil or under the surface of tree logs. It is known as the vegetative part of the fungus. It is from mycelia that the fruit body of a fungus forms. Mycelium may be minute in size or vast.
(For example in East Oregon mycelium spread covered the size of 1,665 football pitches and was approximately 2,200 years old. Source: Paul Stamets, Wikipedia.).
It is via the mycelium that a fungus absorbs nutrients also it assists in the process of decomposition of plant material.
Yesterday I saw exposed mycelium because a slice of dead tree log had fallen to the ground, thus exposing a network of mycelium strands. It was a truly fascinating sight as it gave me an insight as to just what goes on underground and out of view of the human eye. The invisible work that goes on prior to the fruiting body (the mushroom) surfacing.
I was lucky enough to see this at Annersley Wood, Nottinghamshire. It was raining steadily, was cold, but after the recent prolonged snow the foliage was bright green. RE had kindly offered to drive me to this wood, which was new territory for me. Afterwards, we tucked into a very welcome and gorgeous chicken casserole, so thank you for that.
This photograph will appear on Browse 4 in the future.