STINKHORNS OUTSIDE PISA
One Autumn day Cassandra went out for her Sunday constitutional and found a bounty of strikingly beautiful fungus. Coral red and lattice shaped, they caught cassandra's eye from afar, but when she got a little closer... Well, let's just say that this fungus is part of a family called Stinkhorns and there you have it.
Some words on stinkhorns from Wikipedia: “The egg has a delicate, leathery outer membrane enclosing the compressed lattice that surrounds a layer of olive-green spore-bearing slime called the gleba, which contains high levels of calcium that help protect the fruit body during development. As the egg ruptures and the fruit body expands, the gleba is carried upward on the inner surfaces of the spongy lattice, and the egg membrane remains as a volva around the base of the structure…The gleba has a fetid odor, somewhat like rotting meat, which attracts flies and other insects to help disperse its spores.”
And so the stinkhorn. Is it edible? You try it and we’ll talk tomorrow.
Lucca and the Hermodactylus tuberosus
In the early Spring Cassandra was taking some air on the city of Lucca’s lovely walls when a small patch of black on a green hillside caught her eye. What could it be? Nothing less than the blackest and most unusual flower she had ever seen, a kind of iris called snake’s-head iris, black widow iris, or velvet flower-de-luce.
The snake’s head iris or black widow iris is the plant kingdom’s black velvet
Nothing better for a ghoul’s bouquet.