Mushrooms That Fly on Rainy Days


Nidulariaceae (bird’s nest fungi) are a type of fungi that live on decomposing matter. Nowadays you may see them in people’s gardens. Rainy days present a special opportunity for this plant. The mushrooms efficiently use rain to carry their seeds—the spores—afar to leave behind their progeny. The secret lies in their unusual shape: a cup that looks like a small bird’s nest, at 4-10mm in diameter and 6-20mm in depth, that has several objects that look like eggs sitting inside. For this reason, the mushroom has the age-old name “bird’s nest fungi.” The spheres that look like eggs are actually tiny capsules called peridioles, and inside the peridiole are the mushroom’s progeny, or spores. On rainy days, when a water droplet hits the mushroom’s “cup,” the bag-like object attached to the peridiole ruptures. The funicular cord that is coiled up inside rapidly expands like a spring, stretching to a length of 15-20cm. With this force, the peridioles fly several meters, jumping onto and attaching to the tops of branches or leaves, thereby beginning a new life. This method of launching peridioles effectifly uses rain water to spread mushroom spores.

Functional Classification

Resouce/Energy/Information Collection & Storage:
Storage power
Resouce/Energy/Information Transmission & Production:
Use of natural phenomena
Efficiency(Energy Saving, Resource Saving, Light):
Efficient use of energy

Environmental Solution Classification

Related Literature

Brodie, H. J. 1975. The Bird’s Nest Fungi. University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Technical Application

Products and Services

Type of Business

Proposals of Applied Technology

Rain comes down on our umbrellas with surprisingly considerable force, and energy that the Nidulariaceae put to good use. This practice can be used in the development of new waterproofing technologies for buildings. In our daily lives, it provides new ideas for using water effectively. Insight derived from the cup and its contents can be applied to create a system that disperses things using just the energy from falling water. For example, it currently takes a lot of water to wash a car, but if the soap were made into cup form and put somewhere on the car, the soap could automatically spread over the car, automatically washing it on a rainy day. If the cup were made even bigger, it could also be used to develop a system that keeps buildings from getting sullied by the rain. This might also be used to convert the energy from falling rain into electricity via “rain power generation.”

Proposals of Applied Industry

Related Life Style