There’s a Facebook group called Mushroomcore, and it has nearly 30,000 members who share all kinds of cool photos and stories of fungi. However, some species continue to surprise even the biggest nature lovers. Like the Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha).
In June, Regan Daniels from North Carolina uploaded a few pictures to the group of what looked to be a body part of a corpse saying, “Saw this Dead Man’s Fingers (or toes in this case) fungus that I literally thought was a Halloween decoration!” Her snaps instantly went viral, and a few people even said they were fake. But Daniels reassured people they weren’t.
Image credits: Regan Daniels
“I found the mushroom in Western North Carolina in the United States at a park that I frequent,” she told Bored Panda, explaining that it’s a nice place, even though it’s kind of busy. “The walk is nice [and] it’s next to the French Broad River so there’s a lot of good scenery.”
The fungus Daniels discovered was growing from a stump surrounded by others like it and other various fungi types. And no wonder it remained intact, even in a popular destination. If I saw something like this, I would sprint the other way and call the police.
Image credits: sheringhamparknt
Image credits: Plant & Tree Lovers
Image credits: Fair Grounds
The Dead Man’s Fingers appears throughout the year at the base of beechwood stumps and occasionally on other buried hardwoods. It usually arises in tufts of three to six ‘fingers’ that are often bent and give the impression of arthritic black knuckles.
Often appearing in palmate bunches, the stromata comprise of white infertile finger-like forms with a black coating containing the flasks within which the asci (singular ascus) produce their spores. Known as ‘flask fungi’, these black compound fruitbodies are actually quite difficult to spot in dark woodlands.
The Dead Man’s Fingers is a fairly common species in Britain and Ireland, and is also found throughout mainland Europe and in many parts of North America. The fungus isn’t generally considered edible. But I guess you weren’t even thinking about getting some to spice your dish up.
There are other creepy fungi too, including the Devil’s Urn Mushrooms
Image credits: divinebunbun
Jelly ear fungus
Image credits: teacher400
Image credits: Björn S…
Here’s what people said about the Dead Man’s Fingers