Perhaps Parasola plicatilis, the Pleated inkcap, photographed in Flagler county, Florida (09 July 2014).
The Word For The Day: PLICATE |ˈplīkāt, -kit | adjective Biology & Geology | folded, crumpled, or corrugated.
And that pretty much sums up the delicate, folded, crumpled, and tiny mushrooms featured here. If my identification is correct, this is perhaps Parasola plicatilis, the Pleated inkcap. I’m the first to admit I can’t really identify this fungi with total certainly. Apparently it’s rather hard to do so without collecting and studying spore samples, and that’s somewhat beyond my pay grade. Unlike most vertebrates and a decent number of other animals, fungi species can be wicked difficult to distinguish from one another and often require spore sample evaluations. Whereas their biodiversity is immensely expansive, their morphological traits are far too often incredibly similar to one another.
Assuming this is a Pleated inkcap (and I do suspect that it perhaps maybe possibly is), it is a saprophyte fungi, and that brings us to…
The Second Word For The Day: SAPROPHYTE |ˈsaprəˌfīt | noun Biology | a plant, fungus, or microorganism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter.
Inkcaps derive their nutrition from rotting, decaying organic matter in loose or grassy soils. They help usher through and recycle deceased organic matter back into the grand system of life. They’re also incredibly lovely to look at.
I found an impressive number of these yellow-tinted ink caps growing about the trailed grounds surrounding the Daytona State College campus in Flagler / Palm Coast, Florida. They were growing directly from the soil, most often in somewhat open and exposed spaces (though there was admittedly still a bit of canopy overhead). Some were still in their umbrella form (see below), but most were wide open (see above).
I barely caught sight of a small cluster of these fungi about midway through my little break-hike while at work. I was, of course, looking for larger organisms, namely snakes and lizards… but once I caught sight of these inkcaps, I kept seeing them. In fact, as I walked back to campus, back to work, I spotted quite a few I’d blindly passed by earlier. Yet there they were, hidden in plain sight, these tiny, delicate, and small mushrooms quietly going about the business of life and recycling. Makes me wonder how many beautiful things I walk past each and every day without ever noticing…
If you can either confirm or correct this identification, I’d appreciate the feedback!
Next on Dust Tracks: I’m thinking we may have a frog invasion coming up…