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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Black Witch's Butter

I bring you a legend for Halloween. Nah... I don't like Halloween very much, but I did see this fungus yesterday, and its common name is black witch's butter. It's Exida nigricans.

If you find some fungus on rotting limbs that looks like raisins on a stick, you've probably found it.

black witch's butter fungus

It's a jelly fungus. It looks slimy, but it's not, just soft and flabby. Actually, now that they do DNA testing it is turning out that the whole genus of Exida is artificial. That means it's only based on appearances, and doesn't have any validity at all. However, what's going to be done about it hasn't been settled yet. Remember, I'm not a fungus expert. I'm just telling you what I read.

I think the reason for its common name may interest you more. This fungus grows in all northern climates around the globe. The European legends say that witches would milk the cows at night and then spill globs of butter out of the pails. In Sweden, it is known as Troll smör with a similar story.

black witch's butter fungus

I am going to be extra busy this coming week. I have a lot of work assignments, web site work, and things to write. If you don't see me visiting your blogs, I'll get there soon. Thanks for your faithful reading!

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11 comments:

Hopeful said...

Yes I've seen the look alike raisins on the stick.You take a photo of them so nicely.

rainfield61 said...

Witches would milk the cows at night and then spill globs of butter out of the pails.

What a story!!

Ann said...

It really does look like raisins on a stick. I like the European legend, very fitting for this time of year

Secondary Roads said...

It looks like ants on a log, but it's fungi on a stick.

vanilla said...

"Exida is artificial. That means it's only based on appearances, and doesn't have any validity at all."

So then, how did you get the intriguing photos?

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Troll smor sounds like something they might serve in the cafeteria at IKEA ...

Lin said...

It just looks like poop to me!

Sounds like a busy week, but I guess it is good to have those work assignments, right?

betchai said...

they do look like raisins on a stick. are they edible?

Sharkbytes said...

Hi Hopeful- I'm finally learning to get super closeups with my camera

rainfield- you must have myths of your own with creatures common to your area

Ann- I know... I didn't save it for this weekend. I really just found it on Friday.

Chuck- those would be scary ants! They are even rather hefty raisins

vanilla- they are imaginary? No... it's just that the fungi that have been grouped together because they look alike turn out to be not related, but no one has sorted out just which ones go with which yet

Dennis- Maggie says to tell you that it's something great for dogs to roll in.

Lin- It is... but I have so many this week that I will hardly have time to do anything else.

betchai- I think these ones are not. There is a similar one called "ears" that are, but I'm not expert enough to be positive of what I'm doing. I only eat ones that are really easy to be SURE of. Dying from having your liver dissolved by fungus enzymes is deterrent enough for me to be REALLY careful.

RNSANE said...

They look so unappetizing. I do love mushrooms, though, and I eat all sorts of bizarre things that would make one's toes curl.

Maggie said...

Such a cool looking mushroom! I love jelly fungus.

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