Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold, is a fungus. The mold usually grows around constant moisture from water damage, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration or flooding but it can be present almost everywhere, including the air. There is no research that suggests that toxic black mold is not as harmful to people with healthy immune systems, but for people with underlying conditions, black mold can cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions when exposed to it for long periods of time. Therefore, when found, black mold should be removed right away.
Although toxic black mold is not as dangerous to humans, the mold can really have a harmful effect on plants. Plants can become infected with the mold by it growing on them or it spreading from other infected plants or materials. The fungus will attach to the leaves, grow then spread to other parts of the plant and other plants. The mold does not always kill the plant though, sometimes it just spreads around the whole plant and weakens its growth. In very rare or special cases, the plant does not get infected at all.
The image provided shows an Ackee plant growing strong and undisturbed next to a basketball developing toxic mold onto it. The basketball is in a damp and humid environment, which is most likely the cause of the growth. However, instead of succumbing to the infection, the Ackee plant was able to preserve and continue growing completely green and mold-free. Looking at the picture gives a sense of hope and optimism
2020 has been a tough year for predominantly everyone. Timothy Tulloch, a former Suncoast student who graduated in May 2020, has had a lot of obstacles in his way this year. From trying to finish out his senior year online, not being able to continue his sports and work out daily with his team and coaches, and not knowing what would happen with his graduation and college, he has had to deal with a lot of stress this year. “School and sports are very important to me, earlier this year I had to deal with a lot of stress and COVID-19 just seemed to add onto the stress. It was very hard not to shut down and give up,” Tulloch said. Similar to the plant however, Tulloch was able to persist despite stress and COVID-19 and the infection that this year has been.
Being a teenager in this years’ environment, trying to live your life and deal with the stress of school and other activities while having to cope with the panic of the country due to COVID-19, is not an easy task. Some students become overwhelmed and feel as if life is presenting every obstacle it can to slow them down. Relating your situation to the ackee plant and Timothy’s where they were able to overcome the obstacles put in front of them should give the feeling of hope and reassurance. I get a feeling of ease looking at the healthy ackee plant next to the toxic black ball.
The image of the healthy Ackee plant next to the toxic black ball should help people realize that you should not let obstacles be the reason you stop thriving as a person and within everything you do. Do not let the fungus that was this year, combined with stress, stop you from being happy and continuing to grow.