Why are people fascinated by mushrooms? Because of their variety in color, size and their ability to grow in places where other things can’t. Mushrooms are popular in artworks; they bring beauty and whimsy to the picture. The red and white-spotted caps are popular in fantasy paintings, the small white fungi contrast dark tree trunks in photographs, and clustered mushrooms growing next to boulders in drawings can symbolize life from darkness.
The term “mushroom,” however, can also refer to a different type of natural growth that is not even a plant.
Before the mushrooms can form, they start out as tiny salt crystals. These crystals are created when the warm, saltier water on the top layer of the Dead Sea mixes with the slightly cooler water in the bottom layer. The warm layer can hold more dissolved salt than the cooler layer, so when there is a disturbance, natural or man-made, and the layers mix together, there is just too much salt in the cooler layer. The salt condenses, comes together to form microscopic crystals, and these crystals grow bigger as they fall towards the sea floor.
Once they grow enough to break the surface of the water, they are easy enough to spot. But if you were to look into the water from above, you’d see the crystal formations on the floor that have yet to see the sun. They branch out, usually in lines that are easy to follow, and run either along or away from the mushrooms.
If you are planning on visiting the Dead Sea anytime soon, check out its unique take on mushrooms. They can be photo-ops, walkways, even a place to take a break from swimming. If you are not in Israel, enjoy the beauty of the mushrooms with Yehoshua Aryeh’s Dead Sea: From The Depths collection. In the sunlight, at sunsets, with cloudy or clear skies, Yehoshua Aryeh has taken the artistic idea of the mushroom to a new level.