Friday, July 31, 2009

Time For Saprophytes

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sp.)
Heavy rains in summer, especially after mid-July, often trigger a variety of fungi in natural areas. They also trigger several species of saprophytic vascular plants, and we should all begin watching for these. When the woods smell "mushroomy" in northern Indiana, it's time to start watching for:
-Monotropa uniflora (Indian Pipe)
-Monotropa hypopithys (Pinesap)
-Corallorhiza maculata (Spotted Coralroot Orchid)
-Corallorhiza odontorhiza (Late Coralroot Orchid - usually after mid-August)
These mysterious plants have an affinity for oak woods, but certainly do occur elsewere. In other regions, other species could be added to the list.

Pinesap (Monotropa hypopithys)

In addition, we should keep in mind that Thismia americana is a saprophyte, but it occurs in open, wet prairie. Now is the time to look for it, as well. I'm sure it's out there - we just have to find it!
Banded Trinity, Fairy Lantern (Thismia americana)

3 comments:

Scott said...

Keith actually took the photo of Thismia, back in 1914! Nice shot, Keith!

As some of you know, I'm actually planning on doing a Thismia hunt this weekend. Wish me luck. I'll need it.

Keith said...

Good luck Scott! That would be the discovery of a lifetime!!!

ben said...

http://www.chicagowildernessmag.org/issues/summer2004/thismia.html
I had not heard of Thismia. Cool story about the plant.