How fungi stage a deadly under-water attack on Aedes mosquito larvae

Insect pathogenic fungi can grow in liquid suspensions and on solid substrates, and their spores can attack and kill mosquitoes in aquatic or terrestrial environments. A new study demonstrates that the fungal attack of aquatic Aedes larvae is a particular rapid and effective way of mosquito control.

Source: How fungi stage a deadly under-water attack on Aedes mosquito larvae

Mushroom Dyes Part 1 – Getting Started

Yarn Drying

A variety of different colors can be derived from fungi.

by Erin Raymond

Throughout written history, humans have documented the use of plants, insects and lichens in the coloring of natural fibers. For whatever reason fungal dyes seem to be missing from the records of mankind, possibly lost in the many voluminous accounts of bygone times, not garnering the attention of translators, or maybe, being the knowledge of peoples with no written language at all, lost in the ether. It seems inconceivable that somewhere throughout time these secrets were not known by someone, yet culture, geography and time have no doubt played a roll in concealing this knowledge from the modern practitioner.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that books were published, at least in the english language where we can begin to learn the ways of fugal dyes. It was Miriam C. Rice who’s teaching was the driving force in the use of fungi for dyeing, Here is a link to a short History of Mushroom Dyeing.

This, and upcoming dye posts, are a general overview of the dye process.  There are a number of excellent resources with more information that are listed at the end of this post.

Unless otherwise stated, these posts describe the process for wool yarn.  Different types of animal fibers can also be used.  I will go into these further in a later post.

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Urban Fungi

 

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It’s hard to miss the showy bright red fruitings of Amanita muscaria, many other species are demure in comparison, yet are interesting and beautiful in their own right.

by Brady Raymond

In the hustle and bustle of urban living an often unnoticed world exits on the ground amongst the duff and high on branch and tree.  As other forms of life are winding down for the season many species of fungi begin to stir.  Dormant through the hot dry months of summer, the fall rains bring forth a variety of mushrooms in many forms, shapes and colors.  It is easy for the new mushroom hunter to get discouraged when hearing fantastic tails of bucket loads of edibles found on faraway mountain slopes, especially if they lack the means to get to these mushroom wonderlands.  Yet opportunity abounds in our urban environment for someone who wants to hone their skill in photography, identification and just simply finding these things.

In Seattle the obvious place to look would be any of the cities many parks, large or small there is plenty to be found.  Remember though, in the city of Seattle it is illegal to pick mushrooms or otherwise remove them from the parks; this goes for plants, rocks and pretty much anything.  I wonder though, how hard they would come down on you with shoes full of sand from a day at Golden Gardens tromping around on the beach, or a twig caught in your hair from a hike through the trails.  Aside from city parks there are lots of places to look for mushrooms like people’s yards (with permission of course), plantings in parking lots and pretty much anywhere else you could think of that may harbor a fungal find.  There are many micro-environments in the city to explore, and many different species in those environment to be found.  Keep your eyes peeled, a great photo could literally be just around the corner.

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The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.2

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by Brady Raymond

photos by Paul Hill.  View all of Paul’s burn photos at Seattle Roamer and don’t forget to check out his other mushroom photo albums.

Morel Fever

An uneasy feeling sets in walking around a landscape like this, the stark desolation envelops you, cutting through to the bone.  It is a reminder of the inevitable, the reality of our own mortality.  After walking around a few minutes you find your first mushroom, not a morel but a mushroom none the less.  As you are examining it your hunting buddy shouts “I found one!” you toss your find aside and start to make your way in their direction.  They shout again “Got two, three, they’re everywhere!”  You tell yourself to slow down, you look up, take a deep breath and look back down.  “They’re everywhere!” you shout.  For the next couple of hours you fill your basket as giddy laughs echo through the forest.  This is burn morel hunting, you’ve heard the stories and now you’re doing it.

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Not a post card perfect setting, but there are treasures contained within this stark landscape just waiting to be found.

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Dispatches from Hawai’i: Hawai’i’s environmental history, connections to the Pacific Northwest, and magic mushrooms.

This is the fourth article in a 4-part series on the fungi of Hawai’i from a Pacific Northwest perspective.  This article touches on the historical links between Hawai’i and the Pacific Northwest, the environmental history of Hawai’i, and briefly, hallucinogenic fungi.

Hawai’i’s link to the Pacific Northwest begins with the Western explorers of the 18th Century.  On Captain James Cook’s third expedition in 1778, he and his crew became the first documented Europeans to visit the islands.  That same year he would visit the coast of the Pacific Northwest, naming Cape Foulweather in Oregon before heading north and mapping the coastline between Nootka Sound and the Bering Straight.  After being killed in Hawai’i the following year, one of Cook’s crewmembers, George Vancouver, would revisit the islands and Pacific Northwest on his own expedition from 1791-1795. 

Unlike Cook who missed the Straight of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver entered and mapped the Puget Sound while giving Western names to the landmarks of the region: Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and Puget Sound itself.  Vancouver’s Scottish surgeon and naturalist, Archibald Menzies, described many species from the expedition, including Pseudotsuga menziesii, the iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest: Douglas fir. Continue reading

The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.1

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Somewhere in the woods
The last morel stands proudly
Its function achieved

 

by Brady Raymond

Has the last morel of the 2016 season in Washington been picked?  Maybe, but whenever that mushroom is or was plucked from the ground there will be somewhere in the woods “the last morel standing” unfound by man.  It would be interesting to know who does pick that last found morel, or at least the  last edible one.  I would imagine that some old mealy dried out morels could be stumbled upon in the weeks to come though.  I picture these fading fungi being found on the sun baked ground in one of the burns, a shell of its former glory.

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