A is for

Amerorchis! (warning… get your bio-geek on… but there are some nice pics)

I thought this abc-along, brought to us by Knitorius would be fun. Gotta go officially join…later

So, A is for Amerorchis (rotundifolia), a tiny little orchid that grows in northern cedar swamps. I think there’s a moose connection… read on, read on…
Amerorchis rotundifolia 8971 Amerorchis rotundifolia 8966
pics from dh, but I’ve seen this

Way more than you ever may want to know in this Conservation Plan (that I wrote!). A few other pics and North American distribution map are here.

A is also for ampullaceum… as in Splachnum ampullaceum, an odd little moss that definitely has a moose connection.
Splachnum on Moose droppings

Do you see all that black stuff? Moose droppings, appropriately aged, and in a habitat of appropriate pH (and climate etc), and voila, you get Splachnum. Ampullaceum is for ampoule-shaped, see,
Splachnum 3

More pictures here. It’s also called small capsule dung moss (gotta love it, no?). I’m not finding any distribution maps, but it’s a northern thing, think boggy places and big peatlands and moose (though the good moss book says cow dung).

Some interesting moss stuff and watercolor pics are at Robert Muma’s webpage, check out the moss cards, especially Splachnum rubrum with its wacky umbrella shaped capsules.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a hat that has color stranded work with the ampule and umbrella shaped capsules of these two dung mosses. Who else would have such a thing?

A is also for accountability. In this case to Lucia (go send her your warm thoughts, she lost her cat Ed recently). Lucia called me on the word schmoo. Here I am thinking it means something like to spread around in a haphazard fashion without much care (redundant, I know….). Closest I can come is shmoo, something Andy Capp invented! Which led to this definition, found here.

The narrow end of the pear-shaped cell (shmoo) formed in response to mating pheromone by cells of Saccharomyces and other similar fungi; site of polarized growth. Shmoos are named after the Al Capp cartoon character, whose shape they resemble

Knitting has been happening, I got to here on dh’s birthday sweater,
and then ripped back to the ribbing. I didn’t like that I started the first row with the gray flecks. A is also for anal? I’m back to this point… but don’t work on it regularly, do you think I’ll be done by Jan 20????

The moose connection… I had been thinking about the dung mosses (they are ephemeral, meaning they are not long-lived) and their habitat and ideas about primary and secondry succession, and about ideas about orchid germination requirements (specific fungi mostly, but much of this is unknown for many orchids), and the thoughts that fungi must undergo successional processes… and I started to wonder if there was a moose dung-fungi-amerorchis connection. I asked dh is there anything that you can correlate to Isotria (a less attractive but much rarer in Maine orchid), and he said ‘old stone walls’. Which of course got me thinking about how Maine used to be not so forested, lots of pasture, lots of stone walls, lots of sheep, therefore lots of sheep dung… so maybe a sheep dung-fungi-Isotria connection. I think this is definitely a great research project…only problem is that the time frame for the experiment would be about 250 years!

12 thoughts on “A is for

  1. Wow, what a post!
    I LOVE the moss close-ups, and did not know that there was dung moss. The tiny orchids are so lovely; the only orchids I know of (emphasis on the ‘know of’ as I have a scattershot plant knowledge base) around here in the North Woods of the midwest are the Ladyslippers of various sorts.
    The sweater is awesome. The colors complement each other so well.
    Moose dung, moss and orchids. Hmm. The mind boggles. Which is good for us.
    And yes, I feel fairly confident in stating that if you designed and knit a dung moss cap, it would be one-of-a-kind….

  2. Lovely photo of an ephemeral moss and, er, well-aged, um, stuff :)

    Moose moss. That’s been a joke at our house for as long as Bradley J. Moose (a Folkmanis moose puppet) has lived with us. Glad to know there really is such a thing; I’ll inform Bradley posthaste. Maybe I’ll tell him all about dung mosses, too. That should curtail his foraging in the swamp…

  3. Lovely photos! I really like the sound of that research project, but, yeah, 250 years puts a damper on it. The sweater looks great so far!

  4. Love the pics! I used to spend lots of time in the Crystal bog and on ‘the horseback’. We had a hunting camp in
    there on Fish Stream. Your photos brought back great memories!

  5. Wow – still scratching my head on this one. All I really understood was “moose dung.” That was the point, wasn’t it?

  6. Love the moss pictures. I’ve seen this in sphagnum bogs in New Brunswick, but didn’t know it was called dung moss. Thanks

  7. I like the look of those plants- very alien looking. We only had one moose sighting here and it was a freak accident- he somehow made his way down from Northern North Dakota!