Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Phenomenon of Synchronous Fruiting

Christian Schwarz © 2011

Above is pictured Hygrocybe virescens Sm. & Hes.; a waxcap that is considered very rare in California since its discovery.

The species was originally described from a single collection in 1956 in Trinidad, Humboldt County, in northern California, and since then has been found very infrequently.

However, this past November saw a terrific coordinated fruiting from Santa Cruz County in central California to Mendocino Co. 400 kilometers apart. Within 4 days, seven different fruiting localities had been reported.

The rarity of the species is not the issue that fascinates me.

I want to understand more clearly the commonly reported myco-phenomenon of synchronous fruiting of rare macrofungal taxa across large geographic distances - often much farther than can reasonably considered climatically similar, or in any way parallel.

Just this past August, as soon as Albatrellus caeruleoporus came in at an eastern North American foray, Noah Siegel mentioned that he then expected it to be present at his historical spots for it - and voila, there it was.

Christian Schwarz © 2011
Pushing incredulity even further, I found it in Mendocino County in California only months after having been introduced to it for the first time at that eastern locality.

Of course this was over a distance of 5, 100 km, and that is simply too far to consider anything but coincidence... right?

Lincoff, Sturgeon, and Ristich noticed this pattern in Eastern North America with Leucopholiota decorosa, among other species, and I think some European mycologists have observed it in Squamanita (and probably other instances of which I'm ignorant).

Does anyone care to venture a hypothesis?

All the best,
Christian Schwarz

1 comment:

  1. Tea von BonsdorffJuly 15, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    This is very common phenomen in Finland too. The distances can be hundreds of kilometres! And I noticed that sometime within some genuses like in Phaeocollybia. When I told that it is Phaeocollybia year if Finland, it was also somewhere in N.A. too (I do not remember what was the place). But still it is very interesting, how large areas this pehomen can "act". Very rare species (in whole Europe) Hygrophorus purpurascens had "a good year" and It was found in three different sites within one season (twi vere totally new).

    Tea v. Bonsdorff