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north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on May 14th, 2009

Slime Mold – Lycogala epidendrum

2009
May 14

This slime mold is not a fungus although in later stages of growth it may have the appearance of a puffball. I’m going out on a limb here and identifying this one as Wolf’s Milk Slime, aka Toothpaste Slime. Either name makes for a queezy stomach if you actually think about putting it in your mouth.

Slime Mold - Lycogala epidendrum

The first photo should have been enough to keep you from wondering if this is edible. I don’t know where either common name comes from. I haven’t ever seen Wolf’s Milk but I doubt it looks anything like this. And as far as toothpaste goes, if anything ever came out of a tube and looked like this I’d have all my teeth pulled before brushing them.

Slime Mold - Lycogala epidendrum

Kiss my pretty pink butt if you think I’m kidding.

Wolf's Milk Slime Mold

Things are looking better now. Once the slime starts it’s spore growth phase it begins to resemble a puffball.

Toothpaste Slime Mold

OK, this I’d be willing to touch.

Lycogala epidendrum

It seems this is out a bit early, most references state it’s season is in June. The only early reference I saw connected it to finding it while Morel hunting – exactly when I found it.

So to get those icky images out of your head I made up a nice Marsh Marigold wallpaper to look at before you leave. Go ahead and put it on your desktop if you like.

Marsh Marigold
click image to open a larger size in a new window

Their season is coming to an end here in the north country. The flower petals are starting to turn white with age and a few have already dropped. I’ll miss them since they’re one of my favorite spring flowers.

10 Responses

  1. Ratty Says:

    Yuck! That slime looks alien in almost every picture. I love it! I would never guess what this stuff is if I encountered it. I don’t think I’d touch it even in that last picture.

    Ratty,
    If it looks like slime, feels like slime and tastes like slime it must be my wife’s cooking.

  2. rainfield Says:

    The slime mold looks eerie and not so enjoyable, not even to think if it is edible.
    Luckily you do not have a smashed one under your pink butt.

    rainfield,
    Not even with whipped cream?
    Well, I do watch where I sit my pretty pink butt.

  3. Alice Joyce Says:

    Thank you for the marsh marigold!!! The slime ….I can live without. Though I’m certain it has its place in the larger ecosystem.

    Alice,
    Yep, I’m sure it does and I’m willing to leave it there.

  4. lostlandscape(James) Says:

    Very cool slime mold! I haven’t outgrown the puke green stuff that used to come in the little plastic trash cans in the toy stores X years ago. Still, playing with it is one thing, brushing my teeth with it…um, I’ll find something else to amuse myself with…
    James,
    Slime mold IS cool stuff. So long as you only look at it 🙂

    I’d amuse my wife with it but it would be the last thing I do.

  5. cindee Says:

    Ummmm Ewwwww. That is slimey(-:
    I Like the Marsh Marigolds much better(-:

    cindee,
    Melts in your hand – hopefully not in your mouth 🙂

    Marsh Marigold tea made from the leaves is a diuretic and laxative. Please clean up before you leave.

  6. Monica the Garden Faerie Says:

    I think the slime actually looks really cool, but I hadn’t thought of putting it in my mouth. Yuck! SO I did need to marsh marigold chaser, thank!s 😉

    Monica,
    Maybe my purpose in life is to make people think of things they never would have thought of. A peanut butter and sardine sandwich with bacon would make a good chaser too. Everything is better with bacon.

  7. Lynn Says:

    Hahahaaa this reminds me of when 2 friends, one a biologist and one a microbiologist, were rock climbing in Mt. Charleston, Nevada, and thought they saw some slime mold up high. So they went back with something to collect it with and take it to their lab. Another professor confirmed it was…bat guano! And because the biologist was my roommate, the vial of it came to live on our kitchen windowsill. It was not nearly as pretty as that pink butt.

    Lynn,
    Holy Bat Crap Batman! Couldn’t you wait till we got back to the cave?

    My wife is still upset I put an owl pellet on the kitchen counter. (it was in a sealed baggie) She thought it was some animal’s droppings. It didn’t make her feel better when I said it wasn’t and that it was only owl vomit.

  8. Joy Says:

    Dear Mr. WiseA**
    First thank you very much for the pretty wallpaper picture : )
    Next … you have done something I was not able to conceive you EVER doing …………………. I am speechless over the slime mold issue …..
    TOTALLY SPEECHLESS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hehehehehe
    .. well … OK .. I laughed a lot ? so not exactly technically speechless .. but pretty darn near close ???

    Joy,
    I wonder if your husband, contractors and neighbors might be interested in buying some 🙂

  9. Dot Says:

    Your site is one of the craziest I have ever seen.
    I am surprised that you are still at liberty.
    You have upset the gnome collection on my site and they will never be the same.

    Dot

    Dot,
    Of course I’m still at liberty, no one wants to touch me.

    I woulda thunk the Gnomes were upset from eating the fish.

  10. WiseAcre Gardens » Blog Archive » Toothpaste Slime Mold Says:

    […] If this year’s slime post didn’t make you queezy enough – try last year’s: Toothpaste Slime Mold – Lycogala epidendrum […]