I found this fungus in a large, nearly barren field behind my home. I have lived in this dry grassland, high prairie region of eastern New Mexico, US, for 22 years, and have never seen this fungus before. Recent weather has had nighttime temperatures often several degrees below freezing (early January), and we have had some moderate snow that kept the top surface of the ground moist for a few days before drying in the wind and sun, although the subsurface (lower than about 8 centimeters), has remained very dry.
I saw only the mostly dessicated remains of the mushroom, and was impressed by its large size. I noticed it because it looked like several baseball sized dirt clods had been pushed up from the hard, packed ground from underneath, and I walked to the location to find out why. Then I saw these dry remains and dug to remove the entire fungus. Only about half of it’s height was above ground level.
- In this arid climate, any mushrooms surprise me. I’d never seen this one before and was impressed by its large size
- The spores, rather than in gills below the cap, were on the outside, upper surface of the fungus, in thick layer (approximately 1 centimeter thick) of heavily fringed and porous tissue that was very delicate (easy to break) when dry
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Created: 2013-01-08 16:56:51 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2013-12-01 16:06:37 CST (-0500)
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