Mushroom - Xylaria polymorpha or "Dead Man's Fingers"

Not selected for Google Earth or Google Maps [?]

Commonly called "Dead Man's Fingers", this odd mushroom dons a variety of costumes in its rather long life span. When young it is pale (often bluish), with a whitish tip; in early spring. By summer, however, the mushroom begins to blacken, and by late summer or fall it is entirely black and dried out. Somewhere in the middle of this progressive costume change, Xylaria polymorpha does indeed look like a creepy set of "dead man's fingers." By the final stages, however, one is more likely to mistake it for something, um, left by a house cat.

Sometimes mistaken for Xylaria longipes "Dead Moll's Fingers"

this was a first time I have seen this mushroom. It is hard to see because of its black colour.


Show more
Show less
Save Cancel Want to use bold, italic, links?

Comments (75)

Radu B_KeepPanoramio on November 27, 2011

Very strange ! Are they poisonous ? Good macro !


Regards , Radu .

Dino D'Urso on December 10, 2011

Perferct name for those mushrooms!!.. LIKE, regards from Spain, Dino.

Hal Janzen on December 18, 2011

Very interesting and nice colors. L Best of wishes and a Merry Christmas and have great New Year to you and your family, Hal

ANGEL, EL ALFA III on December 19, 2011

Interesante foto. Like. Saludos desde España

sogesehen on December 28, 2011

schönes und interessantes foto F Manfred

Konstantin Khrapko on January 19, 2012

Nice job! L, YS

Tomros on January 19, 2012

Thanks Manfred, Konstantin, much appreciated!!

Pedro M on May 31, 2012

Very beautiul

  • like

Greetings, Pedro M


And of course I Like this picture.

Good morning, greetings and best wishes from Greece-Piraeus.

Nikos 1954.

C haydeé on August 31, 2012

Hola Tomas

Bellísima fotografía. Muy buen acercamiento.

Like y favorite

Saludos cordiales desde Argentina , Chaydeé.

BritPlom on October 30, 2012

Superb macro!


Greetings, François

Ruggero Sampieri on November 12, 2012

E' un fungo che non ho mai visto. Immagine molto bella e interessante. Like 63.
Cordiali saluti, Ruggero.

Alan.L on March 8, 2013

Thank you for sharing with us Tomros. *LIKE-64

Best wishes, Alan L

Marjan Kustera on August 16, 2013

Very good mushroms photo!Kuki - F/L

Anton Trötscher on December 9, 2013

Hello Tomros! An excellent photo of some peculiar mushrooms! Many friendly greetings! Anton Trötscher

Sign up to comment. Sign in if you already did it.

Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 15, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Tomros
    • Camera: Panasonic DMC-ZS5
    • Taken on 2011/10/21 11:19:30
    • Exposure: 0.050s (1/20)
    • Focal Length: 4.10mm
    • F/Stop: f/3.300
    • ISO Speed: ISO80
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash