125/150: Dead Man’s Fingers – Don’t be scared, I help the environment!

Warning: Use of undefined constant full - assumed 'full' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/bio/public_html/biobus.ca/wp/wp-content/themes/biobus-blog/template-parts/content.php on line 22
Fungi: Asomycota: Sordariomycetes: Xylariales: Xylariaceae: Xylaria: Xylaria polymorpha (Greville, 1824)

Contrary to its creepy common name, Dead man’s fingers, Xylaria polymorpha is an important fungus in the forest ecosystem with a black outer layer and white inside. This fungus is a saprotroph meaning they obtain energy from decaying matter and are seen from May to November. They break down dead material making nutrients accessible for other organisms consume. The name, Dead man’s fingers come from their odd, un-uniformly shaped fruiting bodies which resemble fingers poking out of the ground. They are widely distributed in deciduous forests of North America and Europe preferring to grow on apple, maple, locust and elm trees. Their scientific name literally means grows on trees (Xylaria) and many shapes (Polymorpha). They have an uncommonly long spore distribution period, allowing the fruiting bodies to persist for months and even years and spread very successfully. There is 1 representative on BOLD with barcode records. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Xylaria polymorpha or Dead Man’s Fingers fungus creeping out of the ground. Photo Credit: Jerzy Opiola goo.gl/qFG68X
Immature Xylaria polymorpha fruiting bodies. Photo Credit: Chris goo.gl/uZzkM8
Cross section of Xylaria polymorpha’s fruiting body. Photo Credit: Jason Hollinger goo.gl/GB95ye

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: RRFNL029-15

nucleotide sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Dead Man's Fingers

115/150: The Giant Puffball is right out of a fairytale!

Warning: Use of undefined constant full - assumed 'full' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/bio/public_html/biobus.ca/wp/wp-content/themes/biobus-blog/template-parts/content.php on line 22
Fungi: Basidiomycota: Agaricomycetes: Agaricales: Agaricaceae: Calvatia: Calvatia gigantea (Batsch) Lloyd 1904

The Giant Puffball appears in the folklore of many cultures due to its large whimsical appearance. On average these mushrooms are 10-70 cm in diameter, but get as big as 150 cm! The Giant Puffball is one of many mushrooms found to develop ‘fairy rings’, which are associated with witchcraft in many cultures. Continue reading “115/150: The Giant Puffball is right out of a fairytale!”