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Saturday 6 December 2014

Exquisite tiny fungi in the leaf litter of Sabden Park woods, Surrey, UK

 Can you see the tiny white dots in the center of the picture above in this deciduous wood of sycamore, ash and beech today?  It is in Shabden Park nature reserve; click the link for more info' and scroll down for a closer look.

I have absolutely no idea what they are called but a search revealed the following from the Mountain Lake Biological center of the Biology Dept of the University of Virginia;

The entire genus Marasmius is comprised of tiny mushrooms with thin stems which make their home on leaf litter or woody debris. Mushrooms in this genus play an essential role in the forest ecosystem as decomposers, helping to break down leaf litter and rotting plant debris. Although they are often overlooked, their dried fruiting bodies can be found in leaf litter throughout their range. Another identifying characteristic of mushrooms in the genus Marasmius is their “marcescence,” or ability to revive after dry conditions. When the mushrooms become too dry, they shrivel up and remain hidden in the leaf litter until conditions improve, at which point they resume their previous appearance.

Whether these are from the genus Marasmius or not, it doesn't matter.

They are performing the same task of decomposing the leaf litter;
are exquisitely tiny;
and within this forest floor ecosystem small is truly beautiful don't you think?

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