These are images of mushrooms from the Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The fungi are from the genus Amanita (Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Amanitaceae). The bulbous stem base and other features put these in Amanita section Lepidella. I have not attempted to determine a species. These are relatively young. When mature, they will have a characteristic mushroom shape with gills.
The Amanita are very common in North Carolina. Some are edible but some are also deadly, and the variants are hard to identify. The caps of these specimens have not opened yet. Early on, they may look like puffballs, but a cross-section (see one of the images below) will show the developing mushroom shape. These particular mushrooms have swollen, bulbous stem bases that are conjoined. The stem and base are somewhat shaggy. The caps are covered by dense warts, remnants of a universal veil. These species do not discolor when bruised (some Amanita do), have a mild scent, and a dense flesh like bread dough.
All of the images you see here are from a relatively small area under a hardwood, mainly oak, cover and in very rocky soil. As usual, I discovered these specimens on the way to doing something else, in this case geologic mapping but I expected to see many fungi because it was June, peak season, and not long after heavy rain. Enjoy the mini-tour.
Ignatius Watsworth Brock (1866-1950) was a photographer, artist, and poet who worked out of New Bern and Asheville, NC. Images that he made roughly between 1889 and 1934 are collected at the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Nace Brock made photographs (and drawings) of people and places in North Carolina. Some of the photographic materials in the archive are from glass plates, others from photographic prints.
Some of his portraiture is stunning in how he captured his subjects’ personalities in stillness. Most of the character photographs in the collection are from 1889-1938. During most of that time period, people did not smile for portraits by convention, although in some of the photographs you can see a hint of a smile on the subject’s lips or in her eyes.
Here are a few images extracted from the collection. It’s impossible to view these images without wondering who these people were, what they were thinking, and where they went for the rest of their lives. You can almost reach out and touch them.
Needle ice forms in porous, wet soil or sediment when the soil temperature is above freezing and the surface atmosphere temperature is below freezing. Permeability is important. Capillary action pulls water up toward the surface where the water freezes at the bases of growing ice crystals. The growing crystals are capable of lifting small particles and vegetation above the normal soil surface. This differential motion can thoroughly disaggregate and disrupt the upper several centimeters of the soil profile in temperate climates.
The images in this gallery were made in an elementary school yard where patches of bare soil are exposed. By the time I walked over the yard, the sun had melted most of the crystals except for those protected by shadows. Most of the single, larger grains on top of the crystals are coarse sand, perhaps around 2 mm (millimeters) in diameter.
Carter, J. R., 2013, Flowers and ribbons of ice: American Scientist, v. 101, p. 360-369.
Li, A., Matsuoka, N., and Niu, F., 2017, Frost sorting on slopes by needle ice: A laboratory simulation on the effect of slope gradient: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, p. <xocs:firstpage xmlns:xocs=””/>. 10.1002/esp.4276
Li, A., Matsuoka, N., and Niu, F., 2018, Frost sorting on slopes by needle ice: A laboratory simulation on the effect of slope gradient: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, p. n/a-n/a. 10.1002/esp.4276
Soons, J. M., and Greenland, D. E., 1970, Observations on the Growth of Needle Ice: Water Resources Research, v. 6, no. 2, p. 579-593. 10.1029/WR006i002p00579
Yamagishi, C., and Matsuoka, N., 2015, Laboratory frost sorting by needle ice: a pilot experiment on the effects of stone size and extent of surface stone cover: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, v. 40, no. 4, p. 502-511. 10.1002/esp.3653