Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What the Rain Brings

The report on the Resurrection Fern on the last blog got me to thinking about other examples of overnight resuscitation after a little rain.  The most common example that comes to mind is another lower life form that I associate with rain after a dry spell, our beloved fungi.  Many edible species such as morels and oysters spring to life after rain.

We had a pair of logs that Mark Bower introduced me to where Oyster Mushrooms would bloom after a rain.  After a nice fall shower two years ago, I trekked up the little wet-weather creek filled with anticipation and found a large blossoming of mushrooms.  Cutting them off, one fell over the edge of the log and I reached down to retrieve it, stopping just short.  A very patient copperhead waited without moving while I grabbed my camera for a shot of a lifetime.

Mark Bower and I came across nostoc along the rocky glade trail Saturday.  The barren rocks look like they couldn't support any life but add a little rain (in this case just a sprinkle) and in the words of Bill Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything, “Life just wants to be; but it doesn't want to be much.”

As we discussed in a earlier blog, this cyanobacteria produces a rather disgusting mass, looking like a rotting plant on its way out rather than a new growth.

Another example of overnight greening after a rain will be featured in the next blog.