Occasionally curious students may look on the underside of decaying wood; lo and behold, a visual surprise may flash before their eyes. It could happen should a rotting piece of wood be infected with blue mold known as the velvet blue spread (Pulcherricium caeruleum). The fruiting body of this fungus is light to dark blue with a velvety sheen.
On days when the woodlands are still wet from previous rains, most wildflowers have folded their blooms and await the passing of the overcast sky. The blue velvet spread, with its colorful splendor, has allowed the students to remember this trek through the damp and dismal forest. After all, a bright-blue velvet mold was a rare sight.
Copyright © 2004 William T. Hathaway.