Friday 29 July 2011

Bleeding Tooth Fungus

Image via Wikimedia
I am a polite and entirely wonderful person. I have an almost supernatural control of my temper, almost to a fault. Actually it probably is a fault, like if you drink so much water it makes you sick and possibly even die.

I tend to smoulder furiously and I never indulge in physical violence. I've never had to. I'm big enough and hairy enough that my face and frame can do the talking without the rest of me even noticing.

So I don't do fighting. I've never wanted to and I've never had to. All my teeth have fallen out as the natural result of getting bigger, better ones as I got older. There wasn't a single one that was covered in blood as I put it beneath my pillow to sell to the Tooth Fairy.

Image via Wikimedia
Now, I have no idea what the Tooth Fairy wants with all these teeth. It seems weird to me, but it's hard to complain when someone is willing to give you money for something that fell out of your body. Very few things that fall out of one's body can be sold for financial gain. In any case, the Tooth Fairy appears to have standards. Those teeth that don't meet her standards are dumped in the woods as she seeks a way to get her money back.

That's what I think, anyway.

The Bleeding Tooth Fungus is a fungus that, when young, looks like a bleeding tooth. It's a pale white colour tinged with pinks and reds. But the worst thing is the deep, red nastiness that bubbles and oozes from the surface. It looks like it's actually sweating blood! Oh dear... I feel queasy. Yuck! I hate it when my imagination runs off into places I simply DON'T WANT IT TO GO!

Clearly, this is where it gets its name from, as well as the other one's like Devil's Tooth, Bleeding Hydnellum, Red-juice Tooth and, optimistic to the point of obscenity, Strawberries and Cream.

Image via Wikimedia
It also happens to be inedible. I have no idea who found that out or what he was expecting. Perhaps the Strawberries and Cream name came from a practical joke his friends were playing on him?

Ironically, or perhaps predictably, this red stuff is also something of an anticoagulant. Erk, it just gets worse and worse. The whole thing needs a bandage,

A remarkable fact is that these horrors are of great use. Not really to people, but to conifers.

They are found scattered in clumps or all alone in Europe and North America, reaching about 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) in width. They grow near the thinnest roots of coniferous trees, in fact their own root-like mycelia will create a sheathe around the tree rootlets under the earth. Here, the fungus swaps minerals and amino acids for fixed carbon from the tree.

Image via Wikimedia
It's a wonderful barter system that benefits both of them.

As the fungus ages, it changes. After a while it gives up its blood-letting ways and becomes browner and more tough, fibrous and woody. Please ensure you brush your own teeth at least twice a day so they can avoid a similar fate.


TexWisGirl said...

you had me laughing from your opening line! :) i want to see a picture of your big, hairy, peaceful self! Ha!

Joseph JG said...

Hahahahaha! Maybe some day! But I would probably get a hair cut and shave first!

TexWisGirl said...

well, i'll be waiting then! :)