Earth Science Image of the day

Carob Mushroom in Early Stage of Growth - November 29, 2022

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Fungo di carrubo

Photographer: Emanuele Nifosì  

Summary Author: Emanuele Nifosì  

Shown above is the rather rare carob mushroom I came across in Regusa, Sicily (Italy). The scientific name of this yellow-orange fungus is "Laetiporus sulphureus." This year, due to the drought, these mushrooms were even more rare. They can be found on the lower trunk of some carob trees, or, even more rarely, on the trunks of almond trees. August and September, after a rainy day or two, is when the Carob mushroom begins to grow.

The fruiting body of the fungus grows in only a small percentage of carob trees for two reasons: firstly, because it’s generated by a secondary parasite that manages to "infect" the tree only through wounds; secondly, because the carob tree is widespread, but in a very narrow climatic belt. In Italy, about 70% of this species exists in the province of Ragusa. Note that this mushroom also forms on deciduous trees such as chestnut, beech or eucalyptus, but when it does it seems to develop a certain toxicity, which is why it’s considered edible only when plucked from carob or almond trees -- after boiling. Photo taken on September 11, 2022.


Photo details: Nikon D700 camera; Nikkor lens 70-210: ISO 400; f. 5/6; 1/100 second exposure.


Contrada Cuturi, Regusa, Sicily, Italy Coordinates: 36,815488, 14,700164

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