Toadstool 3-Day Lifespan

DAY ONE

My lavender plant has been struggling in the smokey, dust haze, drought conditions which Queensland faces this Christmas.  We recently had one day of light rain and next morning I went outside to see these amazing toadstools which had spring up overnight.

Here’s what my never-say-die French Lavender planter looked like on Day One.

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I did not, and still do not, know what particular type they are but I am sure from Don Burke’s description that they are definitely toadstools.  The one in the middle photo (above) has a small split.  When I touched it to see how soft it was, it split and smelled musty.

Here’s what Don Burke, our Aussie gardening guru, says—

MUSHROOM AND TOADSTOOL COMPARISON INFORMATION https://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/fact-sheets/in-the-garden/gardening-tips-books-techniques-and-tools/mushrooms-and-toadstools/

DAY TWO

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A parasol perfect for a pixie…

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Thin stem and ridges on the cap – not a mushroom…

The cracks are showing…

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You can see they are getting a bit ragged as the afternoon wears on…

DAY THREE

Meltdown, a sad sight…

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Looks like they have deflated in the heat! 

To be fair, at one stage the temperature did reach 43 degrees Celsius – approx 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Over the next couple of days the caps and stems turned brown, rotted down, then were absorbed back into the compose and leaf-litter in the planter.

Will they rise again?

They are ordinary-looking in comparison to European toadstools.  Contrary to popular belief, not all toadstools are poisonous but I would not eat them.  Fungi grows indiscriminately, open ground and nooks and crannies.  This type had a brief fling with my lavender yet its spores may linger.

What is their purpose?

Interestingly, plants have fungal partners.  Our native eucalypt gum tree has underground mycorrhizal (symbiotic) partners for good health.  Remember fungus puff balls as a kid?  They are one of many varieties of above-ground seed dispersal units.  The Australian National Herbarium has great info for nerds like me!
Check https://www.anbg.gov.au/fungi/what-is-fungus.html 

If you like fungi (or you’re a fun guy) I will include a diagram so that when you are strolling across a paddock, or rambling through a wood, you can recognise what you are about to step on.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

‘Fallen Angel’ 100 Word Drabble

 

Wild birds are squawking in the gum tree and I see movement in the grass below.  A bobbing head, something is amiss.  I open the kitchen door and step outside. With a sudden, strong flap of its wings, a goshawk rises from the ground in a cloud of grey and white feathers. Not an angel fallen to earth but the death of a white-headed pigeon.  A flotilla trails the hawk into the distance as I walk up to a pile of fresh feathers, no body, only feathers. It is springtime and the hawk has young to feed.  GBW © 2019

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

 

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