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Magnolia-cone Mushroom, Strobilurus conigenoides | Wildlife Wednesday


While fungi aren’t quite wildlife or plants and I probably should have called this Fungi Friday instead, we’re going to shuffle our mushroom friends to a Wildlife Wednesday today. And while we’re enjoying Second Summer, I’m dreaming about a day that will come soon enough, one that requires a light fleece in the morning, warming to the high 60s or low 70s mid-day, but under foot, while traipsing about the woods, are tiny mushrooms growing on decaying magnolia cones. I first saw magnolia-cone mushrooms, Strobilurus conigenoides, a few years ago when out in Sam Houston National Forest, not realizing that they were a specialized fungus that grew only on magnolia cones. The other species in the genus grow on various gymnosperm cones. Most people likely walk right on by them, or if they notice they don’t stop to wonder what they are. But if you did stop, you’d know that a highly specialized mushroom will find its way to decaying the piles of magnolia cones that litter certain ecosystems of the forest in the fall.

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