Grow Together29 March, 2018
Yesterday, while pulling out dead lettuce stalks that had bolted, produced seed and died, I found a large mushroom attached to the roots of one of the plants (then another, and another)! I’m now less certain of my classification of the mushroom in the previous photo as a member of the Astraeus genus. I’ll have to do some investigating. If anyone here recognizes it, please let me know!
This is one of the neatest examples of ectomycorrhizal symbiosis I’ve seen with my own eyes. You can see the dense white mycelium covering some regions of the root system. The mycelium forms a sheath around the root-tips and assists the plant by channeling water and minerals directly to it. The plant (usually) pays the fungus back with sugars and / or lipids (the transfer of lipids from plant to mycelium is a very recent finding).
It seems the onset of rains and cooler weather, along with - potentially - the death of the plant, have prompted the networks of this species to produce mushrooms. All of the ones I have found so far have been growing in association with lettuce. Let’s practice the mycorrhizal way and nurture interdependence!
So much love for the House of Wu Wei and all the myriad creatures who live here!