Mushrooms “Make their own wind” to spread spores

The wind is created by evaporating moisture off the surface of the mushroom. Evaporation creates dense cold air, which flows and spreads out, and water-vapor — which is less dense than air — giving its spores some lift to eventually be carried a few inches (~4 inches) away. This is important since many fungi don’t grow tall enough to pass the very still air next to the ground called the “boundary layer”. There are other methods of spore dispersal to get past this boundary layer, some launch their spores at high speeds like the Pilobolus…

…others may just use the wind or passing animals. Here is an example of a “puffball” spore dispersal as raindrops hit and release spores into the air.

Read more: SciAm, Herbarium

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