Freaky Fungi

finger-fungus-2  I spent part of yesterday afternoon working in the Fairy Garden, adding additional plants and just mentally trying to decided how I want it to look next year.  Admittedly, I was wool-gathering and lazily weeding when I snapped to attention, thinking the colorful “thing” was something alive and jumped off my weeding stool with much more speed than I’d thought capable!  Once I’d caught my breath and determined that it wasn’t going to bite me, I bent low for a closer look.  Then I ran to get my camera!  Doesn’t this look like the perfect fungi for Halloween?  Brilliant orange on each end, and olive green in the middle with textured rings and pointy tops, my first thought was goblin’s fingers, or maybe witch’s socks.  They are too big (about 4″ tall) to be fairy fingers.  In over forty years of gardening, I’ve never seen anything like it before.

finger-fungus-1  If you look closely to the bottom left of this one, you can see the  beige cap-like beginnings.  They seem to grow in clusters, with not all of the “fingers” emerging at once.  There are several individuals, all growing in partial shade near miniature hostas that have been mulched with shredded bark.

finger-fungus-3 This one was a bit different, in that it looks indented at the top, like a mouth.  You can see several more beige caps around it, too.  The green seems to expand to the top gradually, and after that occurs, apparently they have finished their active life.

finger-fungus-dried  And when they are finished, they shrivel slightly and become papery.  There are two more dried-up ones in the first photo.  I spent a couple of hours searching through my mushroom field guide, and on a couple of internet sites, but could not identify it.  Anybody out there familiar with this freaky fungi?


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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3 Responses to Freaky Fungi

  1. Robin E. says:

    I think they’re a type of stinkhorn. I’ve seen them before on bark much, too. Weird.


  2. Judith says:

    I’ve never seen anything quite like your fungi but from a quick image search on ‘red fingerlike fungi’ I think it’s Mutinus elegans, a type of stinkhorn as Robin suggests. It seems the stinkhorns are known for popping up quickly and unexpectedly.


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