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.
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.
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.