October 13, 2013
Early Autumn hike at Steinman Run
We recently went on a great ramble along the Steinman Run trail, in southern Lancaster County, PA. The property is part of the Lancaster County Conservancy.
This preserved 245 acre tract of land has huge mature trees, marshy areas, and a sparkling clean stream that supports brook trout. The slanting early autumn sunlight gave my pictures a pointillistic effect.
I’ve been hiking the Pennsylvania woodlands all my life, but still find surprises almost every time I go out. This time I spotted some new-to-me tiny fungi. A lot of googling tentatively identifies these as Calestoma cinnabarium. They were growing under a stand of chestnut oak trees.
The center structure in the picture is a bit smaller than an acorn.
It arises from a surround of gelatinous smaller structures.
As it matures, it splits open at the apex.
Nearby was a similar fungus I believe is the related Calestoma lutescens. It is paler in color, and arises from a webbed structure.
A macro view of the spongy web:
And a macro view of the globule:
Also in the new-to-me category was an area of partridge berry, a small, delicate looking ground cover.
It’s unusual in its reproductive strategy. In the spring, two flowers bloom side by side, and after fertilization their ovaries fuse, forming a single berry with two calyxes (the pointed tips at the end of the berry).
Here’s another macro view of the double calyx.
It was a good day for noticing small, beautiful things. I hope wherever you are, you can find the time to get out and look around at your environment.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting.