Two plant growth oddities to ID (mold, fungus?) - Eastern Massachusetts
May 13, 2013 2:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to identify two separate growths I'm unfamiliar with, just for curiosity's sake. The first is a tight, cauliflower-like dome found on the base of a cut tree trunk. The second formed tiny red "spears" on a weed leaf. Pics within.

Growth #1 was dense and firm, like cauliflower, but from my rudimentary googling it's not Cauliflower Fungus (sparassis crispa), which looks much looser and ribbon-like.
Picture 1 shows a distant shot for scale (the two round white dots on the end of the bench)
Picture 2 is a close up

Growth #2 is a smattering of small red "spears" growing out of a leaf. The plant itself is about a foot high, growing street side. Not all leaves had the spears, just a couple.
Picture 1 shows the leaf for scale.
Picture 2 shows some of the red spears.
Picture 3 is a closeup of the spears
Picture 4 is a closeup of the underside of the spear locations
posted by cocoagirl to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
Best answer: #2 is a leaf gall, caused by one of many possible gall wasps.

#1 is definitely not a sparassis. It would be a lot easier to identify if you had cut it open. It doesn't look like a typical dead-tree polypore, either.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:20 PM on May 13, 2013

The red spears look like some kind of gall, maybe produced by a wasp or some other insect laying its eggs in the leaf. They look like lime nail galls to me.
posted by Solomon at 2:22 PM on May 13, 2013

Is it possible #1 is some type of immature hericium?

posted by mudpuppie at 2:24 PM on May 13, 2013

Best answer: The white thing is a slime mold known as Enteridium lycoperdon, or false puffball. This photo series shows its maturation over a fairly short period of time.
posted by drlith at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oops, wrong link to the neat photo series.
posted by drlith at 3:36 PM on May 13, 2013

Response by poster: Wow, I had never heard of leaf galls, and nice call on the Enteridium lycoperdon, drlith. Thanks everyone--now my kids and I know more stuff!
posted by cocoagirl at 7:09 AM on May 14, 2013

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