The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

The science and folklore of fairy rings


CW39 Houston

ringsWORLD – Let’s talk fairy rings, also known around the world as: fairy circles, elf rings or pixie rings. Whatever you want to call them, they include a ring of greener grass, then dead grass, followed by a ring of mushrooms.

According to folklore there’s a multitude of causes, among them the rings are formed by fairies dancing, a dragon’s fiery tail or where the devil churns milk.

In reality, there’s no magic or mystery, the rings are formed by fungi — specifically mycelium growing beneath the soil then sprouting in the form of mushrooms.

Fairy circles in Africa are different though.

Norbert Juergens, a botanist from the University of Hamburg, recently suggested the rings are formed by ‘psammotermes allocerus’ — sand termites — because it’s the only creature always there when the circles are forming. Juergens believes sand termites navigate in circles, feeding on plant roots which slowly form…

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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

3 thoughts on “The science and folklore of fairy rings

  1. Need a protection ring now!!

  2. Pingback: Mythic Monday: Churn Milk Peg | Flossie Benton Rogers

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