Dead Man’s Fingers

As the snow melted, I went out looking for any signs of life to announce spring is coming.  While out there, I came across these odd looking things.

Xylaria polymorpha

At first I thought it was something left by Daisy or another animal sometime this winter. After poking at it a bit out of curiosity, it was not.  Instead, my best guess is that they are Xylaria polymorphs, or Dead Man’s Fingers.  They are very hard black knobs and the centers are a very tough white spore mass.

 Xylaria polymorpha (Dead Man's Fingers)

Xylaria polymorphs are not poisonous, but also not edible.  They usually grow on hardwood stumps or decaying logs, but in this case they seem to be growing on hardwood mulch.  There once was a maple tree in this location, so it is possible that there are some root remnants of that in the soil that it is growing on.  Has anyone seems these growing on mulch before?

2 responses to “Dead Man’s Fingers

  1. No I have never seen them before. I would say they are pretty darn ugly, but the name is very evocative.

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