Lycoperdon pseudopolis

From the diaries of Henri Smythe

From the diaries of Henri Smythe

Name: “City” fungus

Latin: Lycoperdon pseudopolis

Habitat: widespread, though it prefers “waste” ground and vacant plots.

Habits: develops as mycelium underground over the course of centuries, once the sporocarp develops the fungus detaches itself from the ground, often taking large portions of the surrounding area with it.

Reproduction: unknown

Edible? chewy

Description: this literal genius loci may remain dormant underground for centuries as mycelium until triggered, whereupon a fruiting body will develop rapidly enough that a city appears “overnight.” The triggering event can be as devastating as a natural disaster or as seemingly benign as someone digging a well in the wrong spot, but once triggered growth is exponential. The largest sporocarp on record measured appr. 568  km² , but they vary widely in size from the “hamlet”(pseudopolis  pagus) to the “metropolis”(pseudopolis  urbanus) which possesses outgrowths that rival the Empire State Building. Oddly enough, while the mushroom has an uncanny resemblance to human structure no “live” presence has ever been detected on one.

The fungi will inevitably drift towards the sea as the end of its life cycle nears and it loses altitude, but there have been occasions where the biomass falls just short of its destination. Memorable occurrences include the defoliated suburb of New Brunswick and “the Minsk Incident.” No first-hand account of such a “fall” has ever been recovered.

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