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The Buzz

This Big Fungus Find Comes in Very Small Package





(Photo by Chad Merda)

Fungi can come in all shapes, colors and sizes, and while the big ones across the forest floor can be amazing to see, it's the teenie-tiny ones that can truly take your breath away.

That's exactly what happened when we stumbled upon an incredible find in the form of bird's nest fungus at Sugar Creek Preserve on Tuesday. 

"They are both peculiar and fascinating," said Juanita Armstrong-Ullberg, natural resources land manager for the Forest Preserve District. "The fun cup-like nests are so tiny, I almost did not see them. But when I bent down to get a closer look, I saw these little bird-like nests filled with 'eggs.'"

This fungus clearly is a tiny wonder.

A ruler helps put it all in perspective:

(Photo by Chad Merda)

The cup, or bird's nest in this case, is the fruiting body of the plant and the "eggs" are filled with spores.

The nest plays a crucial role in dispersing the spores. The force of raindrops falling into what's commonly referred to as a splash cup can shoot the eggs into the air with great force, dispersing them as far as four feet away from the nest.  

Spores are then released from the eggs and eventually more fruiting bodies are produced.

This fungus is yet another example of why it's best to slow down and take in what you're seeing on the trails. Otherwise, you could miss some incredible sights right under your feet.

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