It’s kind of disturbing that this fungus is called “Dead Man’s Fingers.”

When Regan Daniels from North Carolina uploaded a few pictures of a fungus that looked like a dead man’s toes to the Facebook group Mushroomcore, her snaps instantly went viral, and it’s easy to see why. Ouch, look at that!

Naturally, a few people immediately cried ‘fake’, but Daniels reassured people it wasn’t the case.

And, well, looking at the shrooms from another angle that shows them growing upwards, we can safely say she shouldn’t be discredited.

Dead Man’s Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha) mushrooms are actually pretty common in Britain and Ireland, and are also found throughout mainland Europe and in many parts of North America.

They grow throughout the year at the base of tree stumps – mostly beechwood, but sometimes also on other buried hardwoods. The mushroom’s fruiting body usually appears in tufts of three to six ‘fingers’ that are often bent, giving the impression of arthritic black knuckles.

Check out the hand version.

Daniels discovered the fungus growing from a stump surrounded by other similar mushrooms. The fungus isn’t generally considered edible, which might be one of the reason it had stayed intact, even in a popular destination.

But, of course, there’s another reason. Would you ever taste a dead man’s toes?

A troop of dead man’s fingers, all pointing in the same direction. Image credit: Aaron Pomerantz

Even if they were tasty.

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