Friday, September 12, 2008

Leaning Cherry

The Christian Naturalist's entry about trees leaning for light reminded me of this Black Cherry tree (Prunus serotina) on my property. You are looking at the central trunk of the tree. It must extend out a good 30 feet from the edge of the wood and the trunk is around 8 inches in diameter at the base. It has required some branch pruning underneath so as to allow me to mow under it.


Here is a little puffball mushroom about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. I can not identify the species as I do not have a mushroom guide and could not find one online that appeared similar. The stem is very short. Any help would be appreciated.

Puffballs are Fungi in the Phylum Basidiomycota and produce spores internally. The spores are released through the hole in the top in a puff of brown “dust” when the body is disturbed.

(Update: I studied the excellent puffball page by Michael Kuo at Mushroom Expert, and I am still a bit baffled. Part of the problem is that this puffball is a bit far along in its cycle. Second, you will note that the spines are only on the bottom half of the ball. Most spined species have them on the entire circumference. I would guess that it was genus Lycoperdon if it had a taller stem, and it is possible that the stem was more substantial in its youth. Further, Lycoperdon perlatum is the most common woodland species. Third, cutting a puffball open is important to identifying it as the color and consistency of the flesh are important indicators. And finally, microscopic examination of the spores can be very helpful when differentiating between the various species within a genus. Alas....I will try to use these tools to better effect next season deo volente.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Herping With Dylan

If you are interested in reptiles and amphibians, I recommend that you take a look at these informative and fun videos by a young Herpetologist, Dylan Cebulske. His YouTube Channel is called Herping With Dylan. Remember - Do not handle venomous snakes!

American vs. Fowler's Toad