Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gateway to elfin kingdom found at BGSU's Steller Field

fairy ring elf circle mushroom pattern

I was driving past Warren E. Steller Field on my way into work this morning, and I noticed an amazing natural phenomenon growing inconspicuously in the lawn. It's a fairy ring, a portal to the whimsical netherworld of elfin kingdoms!

Ok, so fairy rings like these aren't really magic gateways. Rather, they are the outer edge of large underground fungi with mycelia growing out from a central point. This entire circle is one organism with multiple fruiting bodies poking through the grass, which creates the illusion of individual mushrooms placed in a strange pattern.

Without prior knowledge of the larger network of mycelia beneath the grass, or the fact that this is actually one organism growing out from a central point, it's no surprise that 12th Century Europeans would assume the rings were created by dancing elves and fairies. I mean, what else could it be, right?