I saw a swallow-tailed kite on the way home from work tonight. They are simply gorgeous birds.
I was thinking about my last post and the bitching about stinkhorn (which DO deserve bitching) and realized I sound as if I hate fungi. I don't. I actually love fungi. I love to see a new mushroom and identify it. I love to eat mushrooms. Puffballs are very yummy, but if you're thinking about trying stuff you pick yourself, make sure you have your mushrooms positively identified. Many are very toxic, and many can cause allergies and icky reactions if ingested. Fungi also pay the bills. Literally. Most of my research at work involves a fungus which is damaging to a food crop. We research chemicals for control and test new varieties of plant for resistance.
Some of my favorites are:
Striate bird's nest fungus
Amanita muscaria (poisonous)
Slime mold (genus Physarum)
British soldier lichen (OK, it's a lichen, but it's still half fungus!)
Ganoderma lucidum These are often called "artist's conks" and are used as a medium for folk painting.
Morels Supposed to be very yummy. I've never tried one.
Downy mildew These fungi cause serious diseases of crops, but their spores and sporangia (spore bearing structures) are gorgeous.
Stem rust of wheat Also very damaging to crops, but beautiful. The rust fungi also have very complicated life cycles, usually requiring 2 host species.