DEAD MANS FINGERS

Xylaria polymorpha
XYLARIACEAE FAMILY (Xylariaceae)

Description
This fungus is short stalked, thick and consists of distorted fingerlike clubs. It is white to buff but becomes black. The fruiting bodies resemble hands groping to be free from the grave. When they first appear they are covered with a white bloom of asexual spores. The clubs are -3 inch high. Photos E-G show the progression of dead mans fingers starting from very early in its growth to the mature form.

Occurrence
It commonly occurs on logs and stumps in clusters in Fontenelle Forest. They first appear in late spring or early summer and last to October. Older fruiting bodies persist through winter.

Comments
The whitish asexual stage occurs in early spring while the carbon like sexual stage follows in summer.

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