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February 26th, 2013 by Alexis Carlson

New Year, More Mushrooms!

You know that feeling you get when you’re in the middle of some much-needed spring cleaning and throw something away and you all of a sudden get a bad feeling about it, but it’s already in the trash bag and partially contaminated with horrible things you left in the fridge over the holidays? I do. Luckily that thing I shouldn’t have thrown away had a twin hidden in the back of a very tall awkward fabric covered growing tent.

But let me back up for a second. This is a mushroom called Lentinus tigrinus. It normally has gills (a form we refer to as agaricoid) but they can also be covered or reduced (a form we refer to as secotioid).

Agaricoid form of Lentinus tigrinus

Secotioid form of Lentinus tigrinus

 

The past couple of months I’ve been fruiting both types in the lab. Usually the mushrooms look like the previous two photos, but every once in a while I’d get something really funky that looked like it belonged on an alien planet or growing out of zombie that fell into a vat of toxic waste. Anyways, one day I was cleaning off some shelf space, which I try to do regularly to keep the hoarder in me at bay, and I found this odd thing.

Coralloid form of L. tigrinus

Turns out L. tigrinus produces not only an agaricoid and secotioid form but a coralloid form as well! This semester I’m going to be working on replicating this coralloid morphology in order to understand the developmental norms within L. tigrinus, which I’m sure has many more surprises in store for me.

Read more from Alexis Carlson, Sciences

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