Dunn Woods is a small, wonderful woodland ecosystem at the heart of Indiana University, but all around the well manicured campus, nature has found a way to stay with us. This page holds all the posts about interesting natural phenomena around the IU campus.
Amanita Muscaria at Jacobs School of Music
Check it out, Amanita muscaria has fruited again in the spring under the spruce trees just south of the Jacobs School of Music Library building. They fruit here abundantly in late summer, under both stands of spruce, which are about 100 feet apart. This leads me to think they are connected through the mycelial network, underneath two different paths that separates spruce stands. In the past two years that I have seen these early flushes, the mushrooms appeared under the eastern stand, while this time they are under the larger western trees. So this brings up a number of questions about the timing and placement of these fruitings, none of which I can answer!
I found this Ganoderma species growing from the root of one of the many gum trees growing around the Poplars Garage, about 2 blocks from Dunn Woods. This is a species known in Asia as Reishi or Lingzhi. It has been used for many centuries in Chinese medicine, and has been researched by modern medicine. Here is what Wikipedia says about its biochemistry:
Ganoderic acid A, a compound isolated from lingzhi Ganoderma lucidum produces a group of triterpenes, called ganoderic acids, which have a molecular structure similar to steroid hormones. It also contains other compounds often found in fungal materials, including polysaccharides (such as beta-glucan), coumarin, mannitol, and alkaloids. Sterols isolated from the mushroom include, ganoderol, ganoderenic acid, ganoderiol, ganodermanontriol, lucidadiol, and ganodermadiol. Fungal immunomodulatory proteins (FIPs) are bioactive ingredients within genera Ganoderma that have immune building properties. FIPs stimulate different cells and cellular components that enable immune response. Some of the molecules and cells that FIPs influence include T and B lymphocytes, natural killer cells, macrophages, and regulation of human monocyte DCs. Improved function of these cells will promote cytokine expression such as IL2, IL-4, and IFN-gamma which will support lymphocyte proliferation, immune cell initiation, and tumor inhibiting factors. Immunostimulation from FIPs could cause increased expression of costimulatory molecules and major histone complexes (MHC) which help to create a pathway for immune response to take place.
Ganoderma has been grown commercially in Asia and now in the U.S., including Southern Indiana, and can be found at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market.