Searching for mushrooms is a hobby for many people. We are constantly discovering new species and varieties because, in addition to the classic porcini mushrooms or chanterelles, we can also find in the woods mushrooms that we do not suspect the existence. Some people have been frightened by a type of fungus called Polymorphic Xylaria It is a black fungus, with a slightly wrinkled surface, that looks like a man’s fingers.
image credit: Bartlett Tree Experts – Wilmington, Delaware/Facebook
Xylaria Polymorpha is a decaying wood fungus that grows beside or above tree roots and is commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes the fungus grows on a single stem, but more frequently it grows with groups of branches. Each “finger” can reach a height of 8cm, although it is usually more stocky.
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It is a truly creepy mushroom, which may surprise anyone who does not know its true nature: its stems come out of the undergrowth and their ends are strikingly reminiscent of fingernails. Some surprised hikers thought they had found a body when they saw these fingers come out from under a tree.
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This fungus, although harmless, is not considered edible: it is hard and its texture is similar to that of wood. But we bet you wouldn’t consider putting it on your plate anyway!
source of used: sciencefriday.com