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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV]
    #11390590 - 11/05/09 02:23 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

11/4/09 - The Morgan Messenger



This is a wonderful time of the year to be out for a walk in the woods, appropriately emblazoned of course, to check the aim of hunters. Norman Dean, former president of the local Master Gardeners, can provide a reward as an incentive to search for Dean Man’s Finger. Remember to take your camera.

This fungus is usually found in clusters on dead stumps, especially of beech or other woody debris. In the fall, the 1 1/2” to 4” tall club-shaped mushrooms, with rounded tips, are entirely black and dried out. They often appear with a number of “fingers” separated or fused together into something more like a hand.

The correct name is Xylaria polymorpha, but it is better known as Dead Man’s Finger. One mushroom expert warns that in its final stages however, one is more likely to mistake this fungus for something left behind by a house cat.

Tom Volk of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse claims Xylaria polymorpha is quite common, but because of their black color the fingers are difficult to see. The mushroom has a comparatively long life span and morel hunters frequently encounter Dead Man’s Fingers in the spring when the young protrusions are still pale with a white tip. The rough or minutely pimpled surface soon begins to blacken. At no stage should one eat the very tough flesh!

There is a deadly mushroom or toadstool known as the Death Cap, Amanita phalloides, found most months in this climate and usually in isolation under oak trees. It has a domed, yellowish green, smooth and shiny cap some 2” to 5” in diameter, and a stem that is swollen at the base. Death Cap has an unpleasant, sickly smell and is very poisonous even in small amounts.

Learn to recognize the Death Cap and always wash your hands if you have handled fungi. If you should suffer the effects of poisoning, seek medical help immediately, especially when there is a delay in the onset of symptoms.

Some experts believe that the most dangerous form of poisoning is that caused by the Death Cap and its relatives, which contain the poisonous substance anatoxin. Only a small amount is needed to attack the liver, often fatally.

Worldwide, the Death Cap causes more deaths than any other mushroom.

Somewhat disappointing in appearance is the Blood Stained Bracket (Daedaleopsis confragosa), one of those hoof-shaped, smooth-capped, shelf-like fungi that attach to dead or rotting trees. This one is buff-colored, up to 6” wide, with a picotee darker stripe or border, and can be found year-round, especially on alder, beech or willow trees. It will mark a reddish brown if the fungus is pressed or bruised and that gives rise to the blood reference.

Better autumn finds are recognizable in gelatinous, irregular shaped, growths on the dead branches of deciduous trees. They have no stem and are called jelly fungi. There is a bright orange-yellow species referred to as Yellow Brain Fungus (Tremella mesenterica). The generic name is from the Latin verb tremere “to tremble,” referring to the jelly-like consistency of the fungus. This is combined with the Greek word mesos, meaning “middle” and the prefix entero meaning “intestine.”

Yellow Brain Fungus is unusual because it appears to be growing on decayed wood, but is actually parasitic on other decay fungi that are inside the wood and consequently not visible.

If there are children of any age in your walking party, they will be happy to search for a primitive substance found on wood chip mulch or trees or leaves after rain in dark, cool, damp places, called Dog Vomit Slime Mold, Fuligo septica.

This is not a mold or a fungus. Nor it is a plant, animal or bacteria. When found, it will be a plasmodium, a giant cell full of millions of nucleii, usually a bright yellow mass that makes people think their dogs have been sick. Slime molds, however disgusting, are harmless to people, pets and plants. They aid in the breakdown of organic debris and are good for the garden. They will dry up and disappear.

Slime molds inspired the 1958 science fiction movie The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and remade in 1988. The film trailer described “a gut-wrenching thriller about an amoeba-like life form that crashes to Earth in an American town, and begins absorbing everything in sight, including a few people.”

Dean is offering a reward for Dead Man’s Finger only. Photographs may be turned inat the Extension Office with your name and telephone number. Do not remove the plant from the ground.

Remember where you found it since Dean may wish to identify the find at its site.


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InvisibleFoamy
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Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11390769 - 11/05/09 03:03 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

What's the address to send the photo?


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InvisibleHerbBaker
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Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11390972 - 11/05/09 03:40 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

Quote:

Twiztidsage said:
Do not remove the PLANT from the ground.




:crazy2:


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Offlineoh_you_know
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Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: HerbBaker]
    #11391295 - 11/05/09 04:25 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

what do we do when we get a pic? i may know where these are


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Offlineoh_you_know
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Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: oh_you_know]
    #11391312 - 11/05/09 04:28 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

how do we know if the person legitly takes a pic of it? anyone can google it and say its theirs....


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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: oh_you_know]
    #11392067 - 11/05/09 06:21 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

I think they are only looking for pics of them from West virginia, but am not sure. Check out Tom Volk's website, maybe it says something there.

Tom Volk's Fungi

Look up Norman Dean, I suppose and Email him. Maybe the original link had more info as well.

I myself am too lazy to check. I would if I lived in WV though....

Good Luck!


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Offlinewowitch17
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Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11392759 - 11/05/09 08:01 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

Quote:

This is a wonderful time of the year to be out for a walk in the woods, appropriately emblazoned of course, to check the aim of hunters.




anyone else immediately think that meant getting high before you go walking?


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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Registered: 12/05/08
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Loc: Seattle Flag
Last seen: 3 years, 12 days
Re: Prize offered for photo of 'Dead Man's Finger'.....[WV] [Re: wowitch17]
    #11392884 - 11/05/09 08:17 PM (8 years, 18 days ago)

Quote:

wowitch17 said:
Quote:

This is a wonderful time of the year to be out for a walk in the woods, appropriately emblazoned of course, to check the aim of hunters.




anyone else immediately think that meant getting high before you go walking?




I thought it meant to wear hunter orange, but now that you said it....

I always try to go appropriately emblazoned.


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