Thanks to Ruth for today’s write-up, and C.Wick of Atchison, Kansas for today’s photograph. C.Wick (of the UBC Botanical Garden forums) has posted a couple additional photographs in this thread on the BPotD Submissions Forum, including one with the “pleasing fungus beetle”. Thank you both! Ruth writes:
There is a fungus among us! And a sexy one at that! Unlike plants and animals, fungi have multiple sexes, or mating types. Schizophyllum commune has a whopping 28,000 distinct sexes. Some of the more primitive fungi have as few as two sexes, making this a superstar amongst fungi. When we think of different sexes, we picture different sexual structures such as pistils or stamens in plants. Fungi don’t exactly have different structures or organs for the mating process — instead, wherever they touch, they can exchange nuclei. Tom Volk writes extensively about sexual reproduction in fungi in his article on Schizophyllum commune.
Commonly referred to as the split-gilled polypore, or, more commonly, split gill, this wood-decaying fungus can be found on every continent (particularly in deciduous forests). The name literally translates to schizo meaning “split”, phyllum meaning “leaf” (referring to its shape like a palmate leaf) and commune meaning “common” because of its widespread distribution.
This being the week of Halloween, look for something frightful in each article. This fungus has been known to cause human mycosis. For example, it has been observed growing into a young girl’s nasal cavity where it began producing fruiting bodies. It has also been found invading other parts of the respiratory system, especially the lungs. It has been discovered as the cause of brain abcesses, chronic maxillary sinusitis, bronchial mucoid impaction and other scary stuff! BOO!