There is something strange happening in our woods…
At this time of year our woodland is peaceful and beautiful. The banks and hollows are scattered with clumps of primroses. The ground is covered with the fleshy leaves of wild bluebells with, just occasionally, their first delicate, drooping pure blue flowers. In other areas there are banks of wild garlic, starting to produce their clusters of white flowers. The wild garlic, of course, is valued by foragers, and can be used to flavour soups, pasta and other dishes.
But in that idyllic woodland lurks something far more sinister….yellow slime mould.
The yellow slime mould is more reminiscent of the all-devouring alien species in the classic 1958 horror science-fiction movie, “The Blob”, than anything else. And it is growing on decaying branches in our beautiful woodland!
In reality this interesting organism, yellow slime mould, known to scientists as “fuligo septica” is completely harmless, growing on damp decaying wood. It had been characterised as a fungus, and given the common name “dog vomit fungus” previously.
Now scientists tell us it is categorised as one of a family of eukaryotic organisms that grow in warm, damp conditions feeding on decaying matter.
And, unlike its horror movie counterpart, it will not damage our beautiful, ancient bluebell woods; it will not devour humans and it certainly won’t try to take over the world!!!