This Fungus Rises From The Ground And Looks Like A Man’s Fingers

By. Anuradha

There was a time when dystopic scenes did not mean anything to us. A sudden volcanic eruption, huge tsunami waves, cyclones, tornadoes or even watching a pandemic destroying humankind felt all okay as we all knew that it was only a movie scene. However, with the recent upturn of events with the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all been inquisitive and concerned about the happenings around us. No one can tell what is waiting for us in the future and therefore, being observant would always be helpful in saving our lives.

However, this is not going to be about something that you need to dread about even though you might get goosebumps when you see them at first!
If you are a hiker and if you have been into deep forests, you would probably have come across this fungus which surely would have taken your breath away at first sight. This fungus is also another kind of mushroom and even though they do not look sweet and fine like porcini mushrooms or chanterelles, they also belong to the category of all these mushrooms.

Image credit: Bartlett Tree Experts – Wilmington, Delaware/Facebook

These fungi are called Polymorphic Xylaria and they literally look like dead men’s fingers. With their black surface and slightly wrinkled top, they look exactly as if someone under the ground is asking for your help and I am sure that if you are not aware of their existence, you would probably get a mini-heart attack when you see them at first.

Image credit: Chef Jet Tila / Facebook

These mushrooms are commonly found east of the Rocky Mountains. They grow on or beside a tree root and we can always see them in groups. They can grow up to the height of 8cm and there are several stories about hikers who were not aware of this fungus type and mistook them for a dead man’s fingers.

Image credit: Jon Tinney/Facebook

Even though these fungi are considered as mushrooms, they are not edible because of their hard texture. But I bet you would not even think of having them on your plate anyway!

So, if you happen to hike in the Rocky mountains be aware of these eerie fungi and do not forget to share pictures if you get the chance to see them!