If You Find One Of These In Your Yard, Don’t Touch It And Try Not To Panic
The universe is full of mysteries that one may find hard to explain. For both plants and animals, you’ll not miss coming across organisms with sneaky and strange characteristics. There’s no denying you’ve encountered many inexplicable creatures. Probably one unnatural organism you’ve stumbled upon and one that you’ll agree is stranger than any you’ve seen before is the dead man fingers.
As the name suggests, the instance you come across them, they look exactly like corpses pushing through the earth with their hands that you’ll be forgiven for thinking the dead have decided to visit us.
The fungus has very variable fruiting bodies and will feature separate fingers at times fused into something resembling a real human hand. Funny enough, these are not hands of the undead leaving the ground, but they belong to a mushroom species that grows around dying or rotting trees in contact with the soils.
Dead man’s fingers belong to the edible fungi, morel and truffle, except that most people consider them inedible although they contain zero toxins. Dead man’s fingers that may appear in several species sharing the family name, Xylaria polymorpha. At the top of each finger is an opening where canidia (asexual spores) are produced. While many mushrooms take a few days to disperse their pores, this fungus may take several months or years to ensure that some of the spores get released during the most favorite time when it’s wet and dump.
When in the early stages, the fingers are blue but with white tips and darken with time. The fresh comes in a whitish color and with black dots spread all over. Usually, the more the spores, the older and limper the dead man’s fingers get.
These baffling organisms will inhabit growing woods or at the basis of that tree or stump that’s rotting in your yard or one that has sustained injuries. Dead man’s fingers will grow to a height of 1.5-4 inches. They’re known to cause the rotting of black roots and will appear only if the tree is dead or is dying.
Dead man’s fingers love dead trees like elm, maple, beech, and locust trees. Besides, you’ll find them around ornamental trees such as the shrubs common on landscaped yards. If you want success in eliminating the fungi, the first thing to do is to track them to the source. When searching for them, bear in mind that they can either grow in the roots or on the stumps of the rotting trees.
You need to figure out if the fingers are growing out of the tree trunk or from the roots. If they grow from under the tree, then it’s possible to remove the mulch and exterminate the fungus. However, there’s nothing much you can do to save the tree. The solution is to eliminate the decaying tree entirely lest the fungi and the rot spread.
The dead man’s fingers will be black during the last stage of their life. You may still spot small-sized fruits on the affected apple trees although they’ll disintegrate within a short duration. If the trees are large, they’ll usually die off slowly by slowly. Anything attacked by these organisms has not future but to decay.
In China, there’s a type of blue bean given the name dead man’s fingers. The plant must have originated from places like Nepal, Bhutan, and Northeastern India. The fingers are usually blue, while the pod itself takes the shape of a sausage. Although the bean is edible, the plant is usually for ornamental or decoration purposes.
And while the version of the dead man’s finger in China is not palatable like their counterparts in China, some individuals are daring enough to convert them into a cuisine. If you happen to be one of those people, then you must consume those that aren’t too old or covered in pores. They’re best taken raw and shaved over something that’s warm like a bowl of pasta. If you get the tender ones and cut them with a knife, they give off a nice smell. Besides, those who eat them say that they have a good taste similar that of mushrooms.
However, it’s important to exercise caution as raw mushroom takes take to digest. Most mushrooms contain a compound named chitin, which the body finds difficult to digest. If taken without caution and moderation, dead man’s fingers can get you poisoned and sick. You don’t want that when you enjoy these wild organisms if you find them edible.
The best approach if you’re brave enough to eat dead man’s fingers is to cook them. By cooking, you’ll be breaking down the chitin, and other compounds contained in them, so they’re safer to eat. However, there are those who’ll eat them raw by slicing thin in salad, toast or warm pasta and are not affected. If you use pasta, they’ll release flavor as they warm up. And if you opt to mix them, make sure you don’t combine it with too many ingredients if you want to retain their original flavor.
Make sure you consume the fungus in moderation if you don’t want toxic chemicals to concentrate in your body.
While some people will see dead man’s fingers as a tasty dish, you shouldn’t assume that they give a warning sign. The sight of the fungus can tell the health of the trees and the land where they grow. If you want to keep them out of your yard entirely, you should avoid planting anything on the lands that have had dead man’s fingers infestations in the past.
In some places, dead man’s finger will be used for boosting the acoustic properties of the wood used for making violins. By integrating them into the violin wood, they help increase the density of the wood. After that, ethylene oxide is used to kill the fungi, so it doesn’t make the wood to rot over time.
According to research, dead man’s finger contains a highly efficient antimicrobial that may be used for the natural preservation of food. That finding is pretty surprising especially because the fungus is believed to be dangerous to trees in America.
If you happen to spot this in the woods, you have no reason to worry. It isn’t the start of the problem but is found where the trees have died and began the decay process.