Fairy rings are those mysterious circles of mushrooms that appear in a lawn for no apparent reason. And this is not just a modern phenomenon. People have been aware of these rings for hundreds of years and they have inspired both curiosity and fear. While there is a simple scientific explanation for these rings that has not calmed the superstitions that have developed over the years. This article by Ariel Kusby which I found on the Garden Collage website explores the folklore of the fairy ring.
For thousands of years, peoples of various cultures have regarded fairy rings with a strong sense of curiosity and fear, believing them to be mystical, supernatural places. Folklore tells us that cultures across Europe have traditionally believed that fairy rings are the dwelling place of fairies, elves, witches, and other magical beings? and that in some cases, they may be dangerous to enter. Even though fairy rings were thought to be little realms where fairies dance and play, lore suggested that if a human interrupted the fun, the cost could be deadly serious.
Science tells us that fairy rings? or patterns of certain types of mushrooms that grow in circular formations? are naturally-occurring phenomenon that usually appear year after year on lawns, in fields, and in forests. Fairy rings?occur when a mushroom spore falls in a favorable spot, grows a mycelium (the vegetative part of a fungus), and spreads out an underground network of fine, tubular threads called hyphae. Mushroom caps then appear at the edges of this network. The formations continue to expand outward, using up all the nutrients within them as they grow larger. A ring found in Belfort, France? the largest ever seen? measures approximately 2,000 feet in diameter, and is an astounding 700 years old.