Monday, October 12, 2009

Witch's Butter

Halloween is coming soon, so this picture I took of the witch's butter fungus on a dead pine log near the Beaver Boardwalk seems like a fitting subject. Apparently this jelly fungus, probably Dacrymyces palmatus, got it's common name because if it appears on decaying wood at your house you are supposedly under a witch's spell.  Witch's butter is actually a parasite of other wood-decaying fungi and gets no help from supernatural sources, but it does appear very suddenly after fall rains, as if by magic.

Most of the jelly fungi are reported to be edible, but I've never tried this one and I wouldn't recommend it or any other fungus unless an expert is involved in identification and assurance. Mushrooms and other fungi don't have much nutrition value, so never take a risk unless you are sure. You won't starve without them, and you could get very ill or even dead with them.

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