Excerpt from ‘Mushrooms outside the Mycelium’ a journal (found in an outshoot of the Wonderland Mycelium crossing from Overijssel into Groningen) detailing the fungi in the Netherlands suspected to have separated themselves from the Wonderland Mycelium. Author unknown.
12 — Leash Cap
Highly dangerous. Mobile.
Stipe (stem) covered in soft ridges. Bottom most part sometimes grown over by hyphae, possibly for stability purposes. Generally between 5 and 10 metres tall. Saw one that must be 20 metres sticking above the rest of the trees and fungi. Stipes are very thin, surprises me they hold up the the cap without breaking. Never seen one break or fall even in strong winds.
Pileus (cap) slightly wider than the length of stipe, ranging from 7 to 15 metres in diameter. Casts a large part of forest into shadow. This creates a circular area where hardly any plants grow. Closest to the stem the ground is covered in nothing but thick mycelia, which transitions to lichen and moss cover closer to the edges, until larger plants like ferns grow at the very edge. This creates a striking convex underneath the cap.
Most of its intelligence probably resides underground. Operates exclusively as an individual.
Not sure how reproduction works. Possibly move closer together, procreate, then separate again?
They seem to have individual preferences for location, moisture, texture of soil etc. Some preferring to stay next to rivers or lakes, and others avoiding them. Seldom seen stationary, they live a slow nomadic lifestyle, seeking their preferred conditions throughout the change of seasons and weather.
Moves more than a metre per hour.
Instead of spores, the gills contain tendrils of varying thickness and length. Don’t seem to do much at first, but after careful observation they can move similarly to octopus arms. Movement often activated when something enters the area under the cap. Not as a response to simple stimulus like a venus-fly-trap, but with purpose.
Tendrils snap towards the target before it has a chance to escape. Targets the back of the neck.
When the tendril connects with the target, it goes in a state of rapid growth, hyphea rapidly surrounding the neck not unlike a collar. Over the course of an hour the target’s struggles cease and start again as the tendril penetrates the skin and fuses with the brainstem. Why?
Movement of the mushroom stops during the process, continues when target stops struggling, presumably when fusion is complete. Target then follows along the mushroom’s path, keeping underneath the cap.
Have observed some trying to flee even after complete fusion. Not even a bull can break through.
Target selection based on individual preference. Many have a group of very select species walking with them. Sometimes mammals, other times birds. Observed one with a collection of purely white chickens.
Target selection completely randomHumans not exempt!!, it’s which they keep that’s based on preference.
Victims captured are used for nutrients, even considering their lack of food intake they waste away too quickly. But some stay alive despite never eating or drinking, like the fungus is feeding them. Why??
Mushroom doesn’t benefit from keeping them. Food reserves? But why not just keep reserves in the base mycelium? Emotionally??? For companionship?