Organism of the day #1
#education #halloween

Netted Rhodotus

Rhodotus palmatus



This netted fungus is a rare find, being found exclusively in the Northern hemisphere of the world, being found preferring the colder climates. Of the western hemisphere, specimens only exist in Canada and the US. In Canada, the specimen has been found in southern Alberta, above Montana to the south and rather close to Saskatchewan to the east. To the east of Saskatchewan, a specimen was located in Mantora, just a little while north of Minnesota in the US. Nearing the border of the US, specimens have appeared in two very notable Canadian cities, Toronto in Ontario and Ottawa, near the border of Quebec and Ontario. Trailing south into the United States, isolated populations appear in New York, Louisiana, Kansas, and Nebraska. The population begins to noticeably grow as specimens are seen in many northeastern states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In these areas, the mushroom is grown between June and September. Specimens are absent in South America and do not reappear until Europe. Populations have been located in London, Paris, Moscow, Rome, and some larger areas like the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal. Aside from the previously mentioned locations (or near those locations), the mushroom has remained absent from any noted recordings of the specimen.

The mushroom stakes its claim on decaying hardwood trees, often maple and elm. The mushroom appears with stalks growing from within the host in which it lives on. It’s always seen as an individual mushroom or in groups with fellow mushrooms of the same species. Like many other fungi, even some of the oldest and largest, this mushroom in saprobic. Being saprobic in the context of a fungus means that it collects its nutrients to survive from decomposing organic matter, present in the previously mentioned maple trees. The fungus thrives on areas periodically flooded that receive minimal sunlight, like under the forest canopies. The light requirements for this fungus to bear its fruiting body is unlike other fungi. These mushrooms like to fruit in areas saturated in light from the red end of the visible light spectrum, unlike the widely preferred blue end.

This striking mushroom bears an appearance that somehow reeks of familiarity but also an alien-like wonder with the veins present on the cap and the brown to red ‘blood’ that sometimes oozes from the mushroom, similarly to the previously covered bleeding tooth fungus. The fungus’ skin is rough and rigged, the ‘veins’ creating pits. The whole mushroom is pink in color to a yellow-orange on the cap, which has a small diameter of 1-2”. Nearing the stumpy stalk it becomes a more reddish pink to white. The stalk is just as long as the cap, being 1-2” (2.5-5 cm) long from base to top, The stalk is also only ⅛-¼” thick (3-5 mm).

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms

A maturing Rhodotus palmatus growing on decaying wood. Note the brown sap being excreted