Thursday, September 30, 2004

Trick or treat

Here they come, lifting their noggins into the air, the Amanita mushrooms, beautiful, poisonous, eager to spread their gaudy caps and shower their spores on a wayward wind. Death caps, they are called.

But they are not all bad, in spite of their Halloween garb. The mushrooms we see are the fruiting bodies of the fungus that grows underground, wrapping its fibers around the roots of trees. The fungus gives the tree nutrients from the soil that it couldn't get by itself, and in turn takes sustenance from the tree's roots. A mutually happy relationship.