Monday, March 10, 2014

wolf's milk and common grey disco ~ 03/10/14 ~ Midpen Preserve

It amazes me how so many natural sightings are time sensitive.  Just the week before, Ken mentioned a distinctive slime mold (which is not a fungus btw) called wolf's milk.  Then, Cindy also included some nice pictures in a recent blog post.  Fun name, no?  So, when I found these, I knew exactly what they were.  I've only ever seen the creeping plasmodium of other slime molds before, not the aethalia (aka sporangia stage) like these pink balls are.  I squeezed a couple, and sure enough, pink milk squirted out, reminding me of Pepto-Bismol.  Oft-repeated descriptions of the milk being a thicker consistency of toothpaste was not my experience. These aethalia were probably too young to be thick.  They're like pea-sized pink paintball pellets (apologies for the excessive alliteration). Apparently, our wolf's milk don't know they're only supposed to be out June-November, yet another oft-repeated statement that doesn't match my encounter.

It wasn't until I got home and looked at my pictures of the wolf's milk that I noticed the tiny grey disc clusters.  I probably should start carrying my reading glasses wherever I go (ugh, one more thing to haul around).  I thought I'd never get an ID on them, but a couple days later during my blog reading, I found Skev's B.L.O.G. had posted Mollisia cinerea from across the pond.  Oooh, a lead.  I'm not sure if what we have in CA is the same found in the UK, especially considering there are several grey-colored Mollisia spp. 

As a side note, there are other similarly looking cup and saucer fungi, but colored sunny yellow, called lemon disco (Bisporella citrina and its smaller sibling B. sulfurina).  It's the tiny world of cool.  Shall I dance?

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