Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Crepidotus usually grows on very old, very rotten logs that dry out easily. Yet it is in these dry conditions that you can often find Crepidotus fruiting bodies. The mycelium must be able to survive these harsh times while it is decaying the wood. Thus, despite its persistent mycelium, the fruiting bodies are pretty delicate and seem to be falling apart. In fact the genus name Crepidotus means "cracked ear." You may recognize the similarity to the word "decrepit," which literally means "thoroughly cracked up."Ian Gibson, Crepidotus in the Pacific Northwest:
The name "Crepidotus" may come from crepido = base or pedestal (Latin), ous, otos = ear (Greek). According to Schalkwijk-Barendsen it means "with a base like an ear".Schalkwijk-Barendsen is Helene M.E. Schalkwijk-Barendsen, Mushrooms of Western Canada (Edmonton: Lone Pine, 1991), unavailable to me.
I suspect that the second etymology is correct, but despite Latin crepido both roots of Crepidotus are probably Greek:
- κρηπίς (krēpis), genitive κρηπῖδος (krēpidos) = boot, foundation
- οὖς (ous), genitive ὠτός (ōtos) = ear