National Geographic : 1920 May
THE FAIRY-RING MUSHROOM (Marasmiius orcades). EDIBLE The specimens shown grew in the grounds of the White House, Washington, D. C. Approxi mately one-half natural size. Photographs courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture A "FAIRY-RING" FORMED BY MarasmiZs oreades, ONE OF THE BEST EDIBLE MUSHROOMS The beginning of a "fairy-ring" may be a single mushroom which drops its spores or seeds in a circle about the base. The next season the small ring of mushrooms drops a larger ring of spores, and so the circle expands, year by year, exactly as the ripples spread out on the surface of a millpond when a rock is cast into the water. Fairy-rings, formed in Colorado, have been estimated to be about 600 years old. Legend informs us that these rings are the magic circles within which elves and other nimble fairy folk hold their revels at mid night on our lawns. There is another superstition that the rings mark the spots where bolts of lightning have struck the ground. Marasmius oreades is found in grassy places (lawns, pastures, and by the roadside) from May to October, being widely distributed in both the North and South Temperate zones.