What an exciting find! I’ve heard about this phenomenon, but it is the first time I got to see it in person. It’s called a fairy circle, or ring, and there is a very simple scientific explanation for why it occurs. The spores of a mushroom extend radially around it and even though the center eventually dies, the offspring propagates, forming a circle, or an arch.

That is not to say that the sight of a fairy ring is for the faint of heart, especially since, like most fungi, they have the tendency to pop out of the ground over night after the rain, fully grown and with no warning.

The rings usually grow up to about thirty feet in diameter and can become permanent if conditions favor them. The fact that disturbing a fairy ring is considered terrible luck doesn’t help keep their weird occurrences from settling in, not that they are easy to get rid of, should you be so daring as to try to unravel them. Some myths forebode an untimely death or blindness for the foolish person who dares walk inside a fairies’ circle, or at least his being hidden from sight, inability to exit it or being abducted to an unearthly realm.

Sometimes the mushrooms don’t even grow above the ground, but their root system affects the grass that covers it, withering it or changing its color, as if unseen creatures had worn it out in a fiery dance.

There are two types of fairy rings: tethered, in which the fungi share a tree’s nutrients without damaging it, and free, in which they grow alone, usually in the middle of the grass.

The largest fairy ring, found in Belfort, France, is two thousand feet in diameter and over seven hundred years old.
I’m doing my very best to keep a detached, just the facts attitude, but this is waaay coool, dude!

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: allyeargarden.com and theweeklygardener.com, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.