Fuligo septica: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Fuligo septica
This slime mold or Dog Vomit first appears as a white to yellow slimy mass with dimensions as given. The "flesh" transforms into a crusty, cake-like mass of darker and variable color. The brittle crust easily breaks away to reveal a dull-black spore mass.
To understand the slime molds you have to know something about their vegetative structure. They exist in nature as a plasmodium, a blob of protoplasm without cell walls and only a cell membrane to keep everything in. It is nothing but a large amoeba and feeds much the same way, by engulfing its food (mostly bacteria) with pseudopodia. So the slime mold ingests its food then digests it.
You may recall that true fungus have a cell wall and digest their food with exoenzymes before ingesting it. The plasmodia you see here actually belong to another slime mold, Physarum polycephalum. The plasmodium of Fuligo septica is transparent, like an egg white. In fact the plasmodium is gathered and eaten in Mexico! Usually, the plasmodium comes out at night and is collected by moonlight in jars.
Besides the potential of Fuligo septica spores to be an allergen to those who are susceptible, this surprisingly common slime mold is not toxic to people, plants, or animals.
6 Facts About The Fuligo septica
Fuligo septica is not edible.
Fuligo septica is more closely related to Amoebas and certain seaweeds than fungi.
This fungus is also known as Dog Vomit slime mold, Wolf’s Milk, Groening’s Slime.
It lives in the soil as a single cell organism. When food is scarce It combines with other cells to look for food forming a plasmodium.
Slime molds have stood the test of time, as analyses of their DNA have revealed they’ve been on Earth approximately a billion years!
Fuligo septica Habitat
Widespread not only in the Midwest but throughout North America.
Dog Vomit slime mold is often encountered on woodchips or woody debris, spreading quickly into patches up to several yards across, composed of individual masses 10–30 cm across.
It is a "slime mold"—neither plant, nor animal, nor fungus. Slime molds are diverse in appearance and reproductive strategies (and, it turns out, they are not as closely related to one another as once believed), but Fuligo septica can be distinguished by its large, spreading "aethalium," which looks a lot like something a dog vomited after eating too much lemon spongecake.
This stage of the slime mold is the spore-releasing, reproductive stage; as the aethalium fades and begins to decay you may notice spore dust being released when the surface is disturbed.
In an earlier stage of development, Fuligo septica is less recognizable, appearing like a milky gelatinous mass that creeps around in search of food. You can see traces of this stage, known as the "plasmodium," at the edges of the aethalium in the photo below. In the Midwest Fuligo septica is most frequently seen in spring and early summer, though it also appears in late summer and fall.
Fuligo septica Removal
Examine your lawn or garden for signs of Fuligo septica. Typically, it is bright yellow in color. Dust slime mold with a light layer of lime.
Use a fungicide, but be careful where you apply it. The risk may be great to nearby plants as a fungicide will cause other plants or your lawn to wither and die.
Expose slime mold to light, sunshine, and dry weather whenever possible for a natural way to rid the lawn or garden of the slime mold.
Dig out the slime mold. This is a cheap and easy way to get rid of it. Slime mold, however, often grows back.
Allow nature to take its course. Slime mold of this type won't hurt your lawn or garden. Dry air and sunshine will usually do the trick.
Warning! Fuligo septica will commonly grow back. Avoid the use of chemical fungicides to reduce the chances of killing surrounding plants.
Fuligo septica History & Taxonomy
The first description of the species was provided by French botanist Jean Marchant in 1727, who referred to it as "fleur de tan" (bark flower); Marchant also classified it as "des éponges" (one of the sponges).
Carl Linnaeus called it Mucor septicus in his 1763 Species Plantarum. The species was transferred to the genus Fuligo by German botanist Friedrich Heinrich Wiggers in 1780.
Fuligo septica profile
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