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164   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

formed at the upper ends, and shot like bullets into the air. Once I had the good fortune to see this process in full operation. The fungus grew on the side of a stump in the woods ; I chanced to take a rest on the other side, and a glint of sunshine fell across the bracket, that I could not see from my position, but what I did notice was regular pulsations of brilliant, glistening particles, forming little puffs, like steam, as they drifted across the sunbeam and vanished instantly in the common daylight. Before looking for the cause I guessed rightly that it was a fungus sowing its spores by the tens of mil-lions, and they were carried away on the summer air. The pulsation, or rhythmical action, must have been in the mechanism of the object itself, — all its little guns fired at once.

It would be " o'er long a tale to tell " of the various forms taken by these things. They pro-duce the dry-rot of timber, the "punk" of pines, the touchwood of the yellow birch. They at-tack dead trunks and limbs and help to reduce them to their elements. Hardly a living species of animal that does not suffer from this great fungus tribe. They particularly seize upon insects of many kinds, entering their bodies by various channels. Once there, the spore germinates and grows, at the expense of


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