One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there readers!

Nutmeg and I were racing over a lawn and stopped to sniff the mushrooms. A moment passed before we realized they were growing in a ring. It’s not a solid ring with a lot of mushrooms, so it was kind of hard to tell. But look close and you’ll see the white and brown (the older ones turned brown) mushrooms in a rough circle. We chattered up Miz Flora to find out why.

Mystery # 68

What do you think her answer was? Give me your best guess and I’ll pop back later to answer.

~~~

Some good guesses today! Is it a Mushroom Fairy Ring? The place where fairies danced and performed magic?

Well, no.

As Miz Flora explained to us, fungus plants grow underground in networks of roots feeding off of dead stuff in the soil. It doesn’t have to be a decaying tree stump, but can be for some species. The mushroom is like the fungus’ flower. It only grows when the fungus is ready to produce spores—their seeds. So if a fungus is growing underground and growing outward, its seed-bearing mushrooms pop up at the edges of the network of roots. Some fungi grow from a single spore and have a growth pattern in an expanding circle, so the mushrooms emerge in a ring at the perimeter.

Some folks call this the Fairy Ring Mushroom. That’s a common name given to the species of mushrooms that grow in rings, which is about 60 different species!

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