Another Look at Bird’s Nest Fungi

Bird's Nest FungiIt always fascinates me to see how many creative ways different organisms have found to not only survive, but flourish. Some do this using clever schemes to extend their range.

P1030287Although many fungi live within narrow environmental parameters, their spore distribution methods give them the potential to inhabit any areas where suitable conditions do exist.

In the case of bird’s nest fungi, spore pods (peridioles) develop within a covered fruiting body (peridium). Once the lid detaches, the mature pods are exposed. Raindrops turn the peridia into splash cups, propelling the pods several feet. The peridioles are covered with a sticky substance which allows them to adhere to whatever they land on. Eventually the pods dry out and the the spores are released.

P1030277Like other fungi, the bird nest varieties require certain limits of sun exposure, moisture level and temperature range as well as a desirable substrate. One of the species shown here appears to only grow on the decaying branches of red elderberry in the woods behind my house.

Those which find their way to conditions which meet their needs, go on to start the cycle over again.

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File2498Photo courtesy of Bruce Hagen, Sonoma County, CA

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12 Responses to Another Look at Bird’s Nest Fungi

  1. Maria F. says:

    I’ve not seen anything like this before. They look so elaborate in design and adaptation strategies; an architecture exclusive of their own.

  2. Bruce Hagen says:

    Rick, some amazing images. You must be using a tripod or have some fancy lighting. Let me guess, you found these in your backyard? ….must be a veritable forest out there! Nature at your finger tips, so to speak. Bruce

  3. I’ve searched high and low for these and have never seen them. I just realized though that one place.I haven’t looked is in my own back yard. Excellent photos of these tiny fungi!

  4. Wonderful images and great information!

  5. Pingback: Things I’ve Seen | New Hampshire Garden Solutions

  6. mariekeates says:

    I was directed here by Alan on New Hampshire Garden Solutions and boy am I glad about it. What a brilliant post and some beautiful pictures. Now I will be keeping my eye out for these on my walks.

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