January 18, 2021
Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day team.
This week’s mushroom is Schizophyllum commune, the common split gill. It was found growing on a downed branch in the tear drop section of the ramble on 11/17/2020. It is found across the six major continents and fruits year-round. Due to its abundance it also happens to be one of the most studied mushrooms in the world and has had its entire genome sequenced. They’re saprobes (consume dead wood) but have also been known to be parasites in certain instances. It appears as if they have gills but they’re actually just folds in the undersurface and technically aren’t spore producing gills. I’ve attached a short video of Paul Stamets, one of the premier mycologists in the world, finding S. commune in Vancouver and doling out some fun facts about the mushroom. The most notable characteristic is that there are 23,398 distinct sexes in the species, compared to two in humans, and each sex can mate with any other sex besides its own.
If you have the day off enjoy it and if you’re working thank you for working on a holiday to keep the lungs of New York pumping.