Have you ever noticed tumor-like growths on plants? Fungi, insects, mites and bacteria are like “body snatchers,” penetrating plant cells and manipulating them to produce galls, cankers and witch’s brooms for the parasites’ benefit. Fortunately, most are benign.
Mosses are among the most ancient plants on earth, and their peculiar biology shows it. The lovely leafy green plant that all of us are familiar with? It has just half the normal number of chromosomes, like an egg or sperm!
Taking “forest baths” and recording your observations can be wonderful therapy for modern times. Here are some tips from acclaimed natural history writer Bernd Heinrich for keeping your own nature journal.
If it weren’t for fungi, dead trees might not decompose and nutrients would be locked up, unavailable for other plants and animals to use. You can easily find (and make art with) wood-rotting bracket fungi even in winter.
Most mammals are only active after dark, so it’s harder to get to know them than, say, birds, which are active and conspicuous during the day. But you can figure out how mammals like white-tailed deer spend their time by noticing subtle signs of their behavior.