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'Dry land coral'

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 1/25/22

Grady Cunningham of Bedford County said recently that he enjoys studying, observing and photographing Tremella mesenteric or “Witches’ butter” on his farm.  

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'Dry land coral'

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Grady Cunningham of Bedford County said recently that he enjoys studying, observing and photographing Tremella mesenteric or “Witches’ butter” on his farm.  

The gelatinous “fruiting bodies” of Witches’ butter are temporary, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.  

This fungus’s full-time job is to inhabit dead wood as a parasite.  

Witches’ butter, which is not reported to be poisonous, is therefore a parasite of a parasite! The yellow jellylike masses (Cunningham says he’s seen some blue) create and disperse spores, which float away to begin more elsewhere.  

It often appears during warmer times in winter but doesn’t stay around very long, according to Cunningham. 

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