Fairy ring

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A fairy ring
Gather 'round the campfire
Icon folklore.svg
Urban legends

A fairy ring, also known as fairy circle, elf circle, elf ring or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring or arc of mushrooms, believed by some to be a place where dimensions meet, or, evidence that pixies and/or fairies were dancing in the area.

The rings can grow to over 10 metres in diameter, and they become stable over time depending on how often fairies return to dance. They are found mainly in forested areas, but also appear in grasslands and deserts.

Fairy rings are the subject of much folklore and myth, primarily in Europe. While some see them as hazardous places, others think that they increase good fortune.

Fairy ring formation[edit]

Fairy rings in Namibia

Grassland fairy rings are most often formed by the mushroom Marasmius oreades; they are formed by nutrient depletion by the mushroom starting at the center and growing outward over time in a circle.[1]

Desert fairy rings are believed to form either from competition stalemates between plants, between termites, or a combination of both competitions.[2] A newer analysis indicates that the likeliest cause of desert fairy rings is competition for water in extremely arid regions.[3]

Getting rid of fairy rings[edit]

According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the only proper remedy is to dig out the fungus-infused soil to a depth of at least 30 cm, then replace this with fresh soil. Since this is rather hard work, as a partial solution to dead circles in your lawn you can try watering and aerating the soil to encourage growth.[4]