Fairy rings occupy a prominent place in European folklore as the location of gateways into elfin kingdoms, or places where elves gather and dance. According to the folklore, a fairy ring appears when a fairy, pixie, or elf appears. It will disappear without trace in less than five days, but if an observer waits for the elf to return to the ring, he or she may be able to capture it. They are soooooo beautiful!
fairy rings are usually caused by decaying organic matter, generally a tree stump. many types of fungi have symbiotic relationships with tree roots and mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of such fungus. So if a huge old tree was cut down, you’ll often find fairy rings. they can last for years and years as the earth reabsorbs all the nutrients left behind by the beautiful tree.
sorry, didn’t mean to crush dreams - but i have a degree in horticulture and i was really excited when i first learned this.
maybe fairies and fungi are joining together to mourn the loss of the tree
NO BUT FINDING OUT ABOUT WHY FAIRY RINGS EXIST IS ALSO REALLY COOL.
From a writer’s perspective, it’s even more interesting to find out why they exist on a horticultural level, because it opens up a whole realm of fictional possibilities. Science doesn’t have to invalidate mythology or fiction, no more than mythology or fiction invalidates science.
For example, doesn’t that just essentially make this a tree grave? And if folklore has taught us anything, it’s that “fairies” and other spirits usually occupy trees, or have them as their life force. And that’s to say nothing of the folklore of trees being spirits in and of themselves, or kitsunes that live in tree hollows, or dryads, etc., etc.. So, if it’s disrespectful or feels like a slight to step on human graves, wouldn’t that logic transfer to stepping inside the Fairy Circle, AKA, the tree’s grave? It’s essentially giving more fuel to the story, not detracting from it, in my humble opinion!
The mycelium (the actual “body” of the fungus) is circular. The fruiting body of the fungus (the mushroom) pops up along the growing edge of the expanding body (like blooms on the tips of branches).
If you’ve ever seen the round growth habit of bread mold - that’s a Mycelium.
As the body grows larger, so does the ring. Every ring was once a solitary spore developing into a tiny speck of Mycelium. As it expands it DOES deplete SOME of the nutrients where the main body is, that’s why Fairy Rings often have different colored grass there, or less, or MORE.
Regardless? It’s all goddamned fascinating, and weird, and wonderful. The mushroom is only the fruit of a larger, greater, more complex and wonderful body beneath the soil. So, you’re still stepping on someone’s body under the dirt. And if you’re a mushroom-kicker, you also just kicked the poor guy in the dick.