fairy ring


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to fairy ring: Fairy ring mushroom

fairy ring

1. a ring of dark luxuriant vegetation in grassy ground corresponding to the edge of an underground fungal mycelium: popularly associated with the dancing of fairies: seasonally marked by a ring of mushrooms
2. short for fairy ring mushroom Marasmius oreades, a dainty buff-coloured edible basidiomycetous fungus, characteristically forming rings in grassland
Enlarge picture
A man is pulled back before he enters a fairy circle. Drawing by T. H. Thomas, 1880. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.

Fairy Ring

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A darkened green ring that sometimes appears in a patch of grass, in lawns and meadows. It is caused by the enrichment of the soil by the mycelium (spawn) of certain fungi, which radiates outward from the center. The ring gradually increases in size, year by year, with mushrooms appearing around the perimeter. Rings up to more than two hundred feet in diameter have been recorded.

In popular folklore these circles of mushrooms, or darkened grass, are the rings in which fairies meet and dance. In many areas it is considered dangerous to fall asleep within the circle, for the fairies will take exception to their space being invaded.

References in periodicals archive ?
4) A color reproduction of George Cruikshank's painting A Fantasy: The Fairy Ring (c.
Quite a lot: in some parts of Europe, superstition held that the passing mortal who stepped inside a fairy ring would be punished with the loss of an eye, or be struck blind in both.
The ring of infection spreads out over many years to form the typical fairy ring.
Joseph Gemborys; third place, "Muckross Fairy Ring," Cheryl Parabicoli and honorable mention, "Thanksgiving Day," Victor Dupuis.
He identified the alkaloid defence substances of the lady bug, metabolites of the fairy ring mushrooms, and a number of diterpenoids with unique structural features from bird's nest fungi.
Other events included a pie baking contest and carnival games such as sling shot range, fairy ring toss and tossing a spear into a hay bale.
In Fairy Ring, an epistolary novel set in 1895 Nova Scotia, Clara Weiss, the beleaguered wife of botanist Edmond, suffers from a malaise necessitating a "sleep cure," while the man who pines for her, Captain Ian Ryder, languishes amid frozen waters, trapped and abandoned by his crew during an abortive journey to the North Pole.
Examples include the field mushrooms, the inky caps (so-called because they turn into a black, inky-like substance when they decompose), oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus, so-called because they taste remarkably similar to cooked oysters), fairy ring mushrooms (Marasmius oreades, which always grow in circles), chanterelles, boletes (especially the giant bolete, Boletus edulis, which tastes like eggplant when cooked), puffballs, morels and chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus, which really does taste like chicken).
Yet this classification also includes the commercial mushroom Agaricus bisporus, as well as its wild relative, Agaricus campestris the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, and the fairy ring mushroom.
The package includes a breakfast delivered to the door each morning so the couple can enjoy breakfast in bed, two 60-minute massages in a fairy ring of mature redwoods, a self-guided wine tasting tour, and a gourmet picnic for two.
The pixies, gnomes and fairies have come to play in Pixies Dell, Their dancing in a fairy ring, so happy and so gay, They'll dance until the break of dawn, then softly fade away, You'll know that you have seen them, as you waken from your sleep, For you have got a special dream, that's yours alone to keep, For now you've seen the fairies, the pixies, gnomes as well, Just listen very hard at night, you'll hear the tinkling bell.
The Fairy Ring Champignon is a gorgeous tasting mushroom, but it does have a poisonous look alike.