Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 42: Nov-Dec 1985

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Fungus Manufactures Phony Blueberry Flowers

Mummy-berry disease is a fungus that preys on blueberries. It propagates itself by turning blueberry leaves into whitish, bell-like structures resembling true blueberry flowers. Bees deceived by this ruse land on the fake blossoms, pause for a moment to sip a sugary fluid (fortuitously) exuding from lesions on the leaves, accidentally pick up some fungus spores, and then fly off to true blueberry blossoms. The transferred spores infect other blueberry plants, causing them to produce white mummy-berries rather than blueberries. When spring comes round, the fungus-filled mummy-berries release the fungus to the leaves, and the cycle continues.

(Anonymous; "A Fungus That Courts with Phony Flowers," Science 85, 6:10, September 1985.)

Comment. The explanations usually served up for such remarkable adaptations are: (1) It is the product of chance and natural selection; and (2) The Creator made things this way. Are there not other possibilities? Perhaps the fungus somehow stole the blueprints for the flower from the blueberry's genome; i.e., genetic endowment. After all, viruses are always subverting cell machinery.

From Science Frontiers #42, NOV-DEC 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987