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At this time of year, I am often caught out by curious passers-by, pulling dead umbellifer stems carefully out of the ground and, as I don’t wear my reading glasses when out walking, pushing up my other specs and pulling the stems very near to my face for close examination.

191204 comatricha nigra (2)

Most people walk quickly past with a hurried but cautious hello to the ‘mad woman’ but some, the braver or more curious, will dare to ask what I’m looking at. And after I show them the gorgeous little things I’ve found, I like to think they might actually, at some future date, pull up the odd stem themselves for a look.

191204 comatricha nigra (1)191204 comatricha nigra (3)

I think these tiny lollipops are from the Comatricha family of slime moulds, possibly Comatricha nigra. They start off very light in colour, gradually darken to a very dark brown, almost black, before drying and crumbling to release their spores.

191204 comatricha nigra (4)