The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 17, 2008


Fairy Threads

We have had such good conditions for mushrooms this year that I have found species in Carlisle that I have only seen before in books. One of these is Macrotyphula juncea commonly

Most of these Fairy Threads are standing upright, indicating that they are fresh, except for the one curvy mushroom just right of center, which is past its prime. (Photo by Kay Fairweather)

known as Fairy Threads or Fairy Hair.

When and where seen. On September 30, Marjorie Johnson of Ember Lane called me about the odd mushrooms she had noticed along Sunset Road and Wolf Rock Road. They turned out to be Fairy Threads. In the next few days I found more along the side of the road on Maple Street near the bridge and on North Road near the canoe launch. They grow on leaf litter in damp darkish places under deciduous trees. My books say they are “widespread and locally common” in the Northeast.

Distinguishing characteristics. Fairy Threads is an appropriate name for these slender little mushrooms that are about two millimeters wide (less than a quarter inch) and up to four inches tall. A single thread would be hard to notice but they occur in groups over several square yards. They are off-white to yellowish and when fresh, they stand straight up. After their moment of glory, they bend and twist, then fall as fast as a subprime mortgage derivative.

Sources. Mushrooms of Northeast North America, George Barron; Mushrooms Demystified, David Arora.∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito