While our meetings and most of our walks are open to the public, there are definite benefits to joining the Mushroom Club of Georgia and renewing yearly.
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June 5th, 2019
"Parasitic Partnership: Native Orchids and Mycorrhizae"
Since the discovery in 1899 that orchids have a partnership with root-inhabiting mycorrhizae, the role of and reliance on these fungal associates has been hotly debated. Nearly 120 years later and despite significant advancement in scientific tools, the nature of the orchid-fungal association remains clouded in conjecture and misunderstanding. In nature, orchid seed require infection by appropriate fungi to stimulate and support germination. Furthermore, naturally occurring orchids maintain their association with mycorrhizae throughout their lifecycle. However, in 1922 orchid growers discovered means to circumvent the role of these mycorrhizal associates and germinate orchid seed in the absence of the required fungi. So, do orchids actually “require” these fungi? This presentation will explore the history of orchids and mycorrhizae, the role of fungi in the propagation of orchids for commercial and conservation purposes, and the current state of the science around the orchid-fungal association.
Dr. Scott Stewart has been working with orchids for nearly 20-years, with a keen interest in the orchid- fungal association. His past research efforts have shed new light on the characteristics and specificity within the orchid-fungal association, as well as the refinement of co-culture methods to produce native orchid seedlings suitable for transplant into nature. He has worked with some of the rarest orchids in the United States, including the eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea), the Florida ladies- tresses (Spiranthes floridana), and the long-horned rein orchis (Habenaria macroceratitis). Dr. Stewart currently serves as the Executive Director of Millennium Park Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Horticulture from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from Illinois College, and is a Research Associate at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
As always, try to come around 6:15 to meet, greet, and share in some snacks!
(FALSE?) MOREL SEASON
It's that time of year again, when hunters hit the woods in search of the elusive morel. Unfortunately there are other (albeit much less common) mushrooms that can appear during this season known as false morels, the name given to several species of mushroom which bear a resemblance to the highly regarded true morels of the genus Morchella. So now is a perfect time for a refresher on the false morel from Tom Volk, mycologist and previous MCG speaker. And remember, if in doubt, do not risk eating it!
MCG features monthly meetings each year between February and November on a variety of fungi-related topics. To view some of our previous meetings go HERE.
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