|An aerial view of a grove of strange trees? Read on.|
|Stemonitis sp. (Photo: Matt Bertone)|
|Remnants of slime mold fruiting on Japanese holly|
Then yesterday while out looking for leaf spots on maples, I noticed some whitish gray tufts in a mulched bed in the shade of several trees. It turned out to be yet another slime mold, Acyria cinerea. The tiny sporangia are only about a millimeter-and-a-half tall, not counting the stipe. If you look closely, you can see that they are often in clusters.Within these sporangia, the white spores are held by a network of spiny threads called a capillitium. The characteristics of the capillitium are important in slime mold identification.
|Capillitium and spores of Acyria cinerea at 400x.|
|Fruiting of Acyria cinerea on mulch|
|Fruiting of Fuligo septica|
|Sporangia of what is probably Physarum leucopus.|
The width of this photograph covers only a quarter inch.
For anyone interested in learning more, I highly recommend starting with Stephenson & Stempen's book Myxomycetes: A Handbook of Slime Molds (1994. Timber Press).