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Unusual Growths in Mulched Beds

I recently came upon some unusual growths that suddenly popped up in several mulched areas.  The outside was red, shaped like a lobster claw but soft like a baby bird.  Inside was an egg shaped thing the size of a walnut with a slimy fluid around it. The tip of each of these things is gooey and black but the rest is pinkish red. What are they?

Sounds like what many call lobster mushrooms.  These unusual growths occur when a fungus called orange mushroom pimple infects a common white mushroom.  The infecting mushroom causes a change in color and often a change of shape in the white mushroom.  Many gardeners enjoy the colorful display while others rake away the mushrooms to prevent kids and pets from eating them.  These mushrooms do not harm nearby plants and gardens. They are the visible reproductive part of a fungus.  The mushrooms usually appear after a period of wet weather when the white mushrooms are up and growing. 


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