Xylaria Polymorpha and more commonly known as dead man's fingers is a saprobic fungus which is oddly structured. From a distance, anyone may see it as some fingers coming out of the ground. This dull looking species arises in tufts of four to six fingers that are often bent and sometimes look like arthritic black knuckles.
Let's have a look at some of its characteristics.
These may look like fingers coming out from the ground but in reality, it's a fungus and is commonly called as Dead man's fingers. Sometimes they grow separately but sometimes in a bunch like in this picture and resembles fingers.
They come in various colours ranging from black to green but have one colour in common which is white. The dead man's finger fungus are incredibly white on the inside. It starts appearing in Spring and does not decay until late summer or fall.
The fungus is characterised by it's long upright, clavate and strap like stomata which pokes through the ground. Often it is found with a multitude of separate "digits" but sometimes individual parts get fused together.
The dead man's fingers belong to the family of the morel and truffle but isn't edible like them. The species is very variable but often club-shaped fruiting bodies are seen which resemble burnt wood.
At the end of their lifespan, this fungus looks like what a dog would leave in your house. Yes, it looks exactly like dog poop after it's life cycle is over.
The botanical name for dead man's finger is Xylaria Polymorpha and it usually grows from the rotten bases of tree stumps and decaying wood. During springtime, the fungus produces a layer of white or blue coloured spores called conidia.