The Poetry of Science – Episode 5: Growing Dark in the Cold

Recent research has shown that mushrooms in colder climates tend to be darker than those in warmer environments. Join me for a poetic investigation into why this may be the case, and how this can help us to better understand the fungal kingdom.

Read this episode’s science poem

Beneath the dewy grass you seep,
Wispy tendrils splayed out as complex
Networks of finely-woven threads.
Breaking through the earthy tomes
Your tempting fruits throb buoyantly;
A myriad of insignia that litter the landscape,
Revealing your presence in cascades of colour.
We map the subtleties of your tone,

Decomposing this aural splendour into:
Hue,
Saturation,
Lightness.
A histogram of colour that
Renders your brilliance into
Pixelated grayscale.
Picking through these pigments
We plot the frequency of fruit,
Charting it against climatic change
To reveal patterns that two-step
Across the page with regimented precision.
Your shadows darkening with
Increasing frigidity;
Glimpses of this complex web of stories
That lie buried beneath your surface.

By Dr Sam Illingworth

The original episode appreared here.

Read the scientific study that inspired it here.

Go back to The Poetry of Science

Featured image credit: CC BY 2.0 by Giulia Ciappa

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