To the excitement of some and the bemusement of others we had an early break in today’s walk whilst the enthusiasts took photos of a very rare fungus we found.
Known as Devil’s Fingers (botanical name Clathrus archeri) it is quite striking in appearance although masked in the grass as you will see in the photo. In all we found 5 specimens and this may be the most northern record of the fungus. I am drying the specimen I collected and it may go to the national herbarium at Kew.
It is native to Australia and New Zealand. The first UK record was in Penzance (1946). It is described as very rare in the UK.
The fungus spreads its spores by attracting flies and it stinks (the smell is sticking to my fingers after several washes). The black blobs on the photo are the spore masses. You can also see the jelly filled egg like structure that splits open to allow the fungus to emerge.