The Nest that wasn’t a Nest – Watercolor

bird’s nest fungus watercolor

I’ve heard about the elusive bird’s nest fungus (Cyathus stercoreus) but I have never seen them until recently. And it is no wonder…I was looking for something much, much larger. Think tiny if you want to find this organism. REALLY tiny.

bird’s nest fungus photo

And behold, on the north side of a large bolder, sat tiny bird’s nest fungi in the midst of wood mulch. The open nests are about 1/4-1/2″ (0.635-1.27cm) wide. The “egg” is also not an egg, but a peridiole, container of spores. When it rains, a drop of rain dislodges the peridiole and sends it flying. When it lands, hopefully it takes root in the ground where the hyphae grows, multiplying into a mycelium network (“roots”) underground. Whenever you see a fungus, you’re actually looking at a fruiting body. A fruiting body’s mission is to distribute its spores to multiply. Most of the “important” work is underground and out of sight.

But those fruiting bodies…they’re so gorgeous!

I hope you look low and see tiny things this week!


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