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How cool are these?

170831 Common bird's-nest fungus (1)

Of course, you’ve guessed it – I’m not talking about eggs in the nests of birds with feathers: these are fungi, but one of the most amazing types of fungi I know. And this was the first time I’d seen them with eggs in the nests and, indeed, it was the first time I’d seen them before the eggs were exposed. And there must have been hundreds of them, all growing along the planks of wood around a raised garden bed.

170831 Common bird's-nest fungus (3)170831 Common bird's-nest fungus (2)

This is the Common bird’s-nest fungus (Crucibulum laeve) and I think you can see where it got its common name. It starts off looking like small blobs of yellowy orange fur, then the furry membrane falls off to reveal its inner cupcake-shaped fruiting body and that’s where the eggs sit. Of course, they’re not eggs at all: the scientific name for them is peridioles. They’re effectively capsules full of spores that are activated when rain drops hit them, causing them to ‘leave the nest’ and begin the germination process. (If you’re as fascinated by these as I am, you can read more here.)

170831 Common bird's-nest fungus (5)170831 Common bird's-nest fungus (4)

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