Weekend Bunnies, Achlorophyllous Plants and a Polypore.

On the weekend I went for a long walk with the little one.

As we were slowly wandering through the neighbourhood some rabbits started hopping around nearby.

They were snacking on dandelions and other treats.

They were small, and not very shy.

I think it would take a couple of them to make a hearty meal.

An older fellow who said he'd been walking on that same street on weekend mornings for decades told me that one morning he came across a deer standing in the middle of the road. I think I'd need to be out very early to see that. Maybe this coming weekend. A deer would make a very hearty meal.

At one point I detoured through a section of the valley, and in short order came across two incredible plants. Both of them are achlorophyllous (i.e. without cholorphyll) and so cannot photosynthesize to make their own nutrients.

Monotropa uniflora, also known as the Ghost Plant, Indian Pipe, or Corpse Plant derives its nutrients and carbon from parasitizing on fungi, and thus is known as a myco-heterotroph (i.e. 'gets its nourishment from another, in this case, myco or fungi'). I freaked out a little when I saw this one, because it is quite rare. Finding it was a real treat.

I saw it out of the corner of my eye as I was navigating the baby buggy over some rough ground - it was probably only 3 centimeters in height. What immediately struck me was its resemblance to fungus - which of course it is not.

And then I came across another achlorophyllous beastie: Conopholis americana, American cancer-root, squawroot or bear corn parasitizes nutrients from the roots of oaks or beech trees - it doesn't need to photosynthesize and so not surprisingly lacks leaves.

This was a weird one - the more I looked, the more I saw of them. They grew in lines that traced the presence of shallow tree roots under the soil.

They were like little white berries on pine-cones. They reminded me of the early growth stage of ferns also.

I also came across this unusual polyporus. I've never seen it before - fairly small (about 5 centimeters in diameter) - with a rigid black stem. I believe it is Polyporus elegans, but can't find any reference to it at all in my Roger Philips Mushrooms book or any online source - if anyone can help me identify it, I would really appreciate it. I'm afraid this is the only photo I took, so trust me that it is a polypore. It almost appears to have an iodine staining to it.



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