December 19, 2010
December 19 - Sparassis crispa
Are the lights on your Christmas tree twinkling? Beautiful ornaments hung in just the perfect spots? Tinsel icicles hanging temptingly to felines (which, should Kitty eat them, will soon result in you harkening back to some worm posts of the past year!) Well, if it's a real tree, be glad that your coniferous companion escaped parasitism by Sparassis crispa. This parasitic fungus, known as the cauliflower mushroom because of its appearance, parasitizes the roots of popular species of evergreens that are used as Christmas trees - pines, firs, and spruces. This parasite may not be so great for the tree, but they're quite nice for humans - they are edible and tasty and even now cultivated and some studies suggest that they might even be capable of stimulating the immune system.