Sunday, October 27, 2013

Shrooming in London

Recently, I try to get out into the gardens as often as possible. Especially now that it is autumn, the rains have been through, and it is rather warm. The conditions for fungi forays (searching for mushrooms) are perfect! Can you help me identify these? Here are some mushrooms I found around Kew Gardens:

Agaricus sp. (these are related to the button mushrooms you buy in the grocery store!)
Agaricus sp.
Clitocybe inversa
Clitocybe inversa

Clitocybe inversa
Clitocybe inversa
Very nice mushroom with red/orange cap fringed with white feathery scales. Abundant in the area, found growing on mulch. Dark spore print, white fibrous stem without annulus/ring.
same as above
Unknown, very cute small white mushroom cluster on grass
Beautiful blue/green Hygrocybe spp. growing on the leaves beneath a beech tree (Fagus sylvatica).
Same as above. Note white, fibrous stem without ring.
Same as above. Note white/cream spores, adnate gills (gills attached to stem).

A mini forest of unknown little brown mushrooms growing on the mulch beneath Yew trees (Taxus baccata) and pines at Kew Gardens.
Clitocybe sp.
Unknown mushroom. Looks like a mini Ink cap mushroom (Coprinus sp.), but I did not check the gills for ink. It was tiny!!
Agaricus sp. fairy ring
Agaricus sp. Note the annulus/ring around the stem and the dark gills.
Lepiota sp.
And of course, you know I can't resist photographing some wildflowers along the way too.

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
Update: This was a fun find - I just learned that the Cornflower is an endangered species and a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species! Wow! Check out more information about it's status. Apparently, this is not so much because of it's distribution (which is quite widespread), but because it is important to the protection of arable lands and therefore, biodiversity.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Have you read anything good lately?

I just read about a study in the New Scientist in which a scientist has discovered that people who read fiction books are nicer people! According to the article:
"Our ability to detect and understand other peoples' emotions, and to infer their beliefs and intentions is known as theory of mind. David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano at the New School for Social Research in New York tested whether exposure to literary fiction – stories with more complex characters – boosts this."
The outcome showed that:
"Those who had read the literary fiction showed a heightened ability to empathise compared with the other groups."
I've recently started reading again before going to bed. The Englishman has convinced me that looking at a bright LED screen (i.e. my computer) before going to bed is not healthy. So, instead, I've been reading, which actually really works. I end up starting to doze and once the paragraph starts to get fuzzy, I know it's time for bed. And big bonus, I'm loving it! Having read so much nonfiction/scientific literature while earning my master's degree, I stopped reading anything else. Turns out I've been missing it. There's nothing that can beat the ability to escape into a good book, live out some fantasies, and connect to fictional characters. Perhaps I am even becoming a nicer person because of my reading increase.

I am currently reading The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott

And before that I read The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of a window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, upon my mother's recommendation and really enjoyed it:
What are you reading right now?