Flowing mushroom?

Description: Do mushrooms flow like a fluid as they grow? Walking through the woods I came across a bracket fungus that had grown around a dead fern leaf (photo at right). The fern frond moved easily except at the point where the leaflet was firmly grasped by the rigid mushroom. The mushroom was quite stiff to the touch, but flowed around the leaf as it grew.

It strikes me that there are probably a lot of interesting questions about the physics of mushroom development that could be done with just a home mushroom garden or a few trips to the woods. There has been a lot of recent interest on the biomechanics of development in plants and animals (my area of research), but I've seen little research on this topic in fungi. One simple question one might start with is: does the growing edge act like a viscous fluid which solidifies behind the growing edge? If so, one would expect that the bracket mushroom would push measurably on obstacles, just not enough to push larger obstacles out of the way. Perhaps viscous flow could explain the shape of the mushroom near the obstacle.

I think this bracket fungus may have been one called Artist's Conk, but I'm not much of a mushroomer. It was about 2 to 4 inches wide.

Page creator's name: Mickey von Dassow
Page creator's contact info: Via the IGoR "Contact Us" link.

biology biomechanics development fungi mushroom physics

Created: 07 Jul 2014 08:31
Updated: 06 Jan 2015 21:39


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