As part of Biology Week 2013, we are celebrating UK Fungus Day on Sunday 13th October. The day is organised by the British Mycological Society and will involve events, lectures and fungal forays. It is a celebration of fungi and fungal research, exploring both the good and the bad!
The fun has already started with a competition to find the largest fairy ring.
A fairy ring is a visible circle or arc of fungus fruit bodies (often these are mushroom-shaped but puff balls have also been recorded forming rings). There are around 60 species of fungi that are known to form fairy rings, and some of these rings are over 100 years old.
The largest recorded fairy ring in Wales is 50 m wide!
Fairy rings form when a fungal spore germinates to produce fine filaments (hyphae), which make up the main body of filamentous fungi. The hyphae in the soil form a network known as the mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus. This spreads out from the centre as it grows. Fruit bodies (mushrooms or puff balls) appear near the edge of this spread at any time from June through to December but more frequently in the autumn months. Over the years, the circle will get bigger, increasing in diameter by up to 20 cm each year.
If you spot a fairy ring, please take a photo and submit your entry.