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Monday, 8 February 2016

Powdery Piggyback

Monday Mushroom #98

The blackening russule - Russula nigricans is well named for the way it turns black on maturation, eventually degenerating into nondescript brittle black lumps that strongly resemble charcoal. It is a very common fungus round these parts and has developed parasitic hangers on - another fungus called the powdery piggyback fungus - Asterophora lycoperdoides - which emerges as little white mushrooms as the russule blackens.

These parasites are unusual in that their caps disintegrate into a brownish, spore bearing powder by a process totally unrelated to the development of spores on their gills.

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