Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pink Slime Mold in Sunflower Garden

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been noticing something very strange in my sunflower garden. It's a nice color -- light to medium pink -- but if you squish it, it oozes hot pink goo or slime! Googling "pink mold in garden" I happened to find out it is a slime mold that supposedly inspired some science fiction movies years ago. How about that?

MY PINK SLIME MOLD

Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
In My Sunflower Garden ~ JaguarJulie
Googling further, I next found it referred to as "Wolf's Milk." That seemed to be a strange reference. Finally, I hit upon the scientific name of Lycogala epidendrum.

Checking the description on Wikipedia, it says,
During the plasmodial stage, individuals are reddish in color, but these are almost never seen. When conditions change, the individuals aggregate by means of chemical signaling to form an aethalium, or fruiting body. These appear as small cushion-like blobs measuring about 3–15 millimetres in diameter.
Little "cushion-like blobs!" I couldn't have described it better myself.

Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
In My Sunflower Garden ~ JaguarJulie
The color of the "cushion-like blobs" can vary from pinkish-grey to yellowish-brown or greenish-black. And, when they mature, the blobs can be more of a brownish color. I actually saw some brownish ones adjacent to the pink; however, I didn't take a photo of that!

Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
In My Sunflower Garden ~ JaguarJulie
I've found the pink slime mold several mornings -- perhaps 7 times? Each time, I've put on my yellow rubber gloves. Using my garden steak knife, I gently scoop under the blobs and put them in a plastic bag. I seal up the bag and throw it in the trash. When I am not careful, I have squished some of it to see that darker pink gooey paste.

Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
Pink Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
In My Sunflower Garden ~ JaguarJulie
Ack!! I was wondering, "what should I be doing with that stuff?"

WHAT TO DO WITH PINK SLIME MOLD

A Little Book of Slime
The Garden Detective, Jessica Damiano says,
It's harmless and will go away on its own, but if you want to eliminate it, just turn over the mulch or scoop up the blobs, bag them and toss them in the trash.
How about that? I guess I had a good intuitive instinct in that I was scooping up the blobs, bagging them, and then tossing the knotted bag in my trash! Now I am wondering about all those little white plastic bags of bagged blobs!!

There's another gal with a good sense of humor in that she describes this stuff as looking like "dog vomit." I was actually thinking that the orange tabby left me some "cat vomit!" Nana Mejia, Horticulture Agent, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension says,
The best approach to controlling these unique organisms is to try changing the environment in which they grow. Slime molds and other such organisms will not grow well in dry situations.
Learn more about these unique blobs in Myxomycetes: A Handbook of Slime Molds.

I think you're probably in the mood for Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack [Online Game Code].

Have you ever experienced pink slime mold aka Lycogala epidendrum? Oh, please share! Show me your pictures!

DIFFERENT LOOKING SLIME MOLD

Another Pink Slime Mold Found in My Front Yard Garden
Another Pink Slime Mold Found in My Front Yard Garden ~ JaguarJulie
I found another type of pink slime mold in my front yard garden, in the black mulch. I've seen it there a couple of times. It has never looked like the pink slime mold little blobs that have appeared in my sunflower garden. Now, I really think this looks like "dog vomit" or "cat vomit." I found a page of slime mold photos at Wayne's Word that identifies something similar looking as of the Kingdom Protista, Division Myxomycota.

ANOTHER COLOR OF SLIME MOLD

I knew if I was patient that I would see that other color of slime mold in my sunflower garden. On Sunday, April 27th, I was up earlier than usual - and that would explain why the flash went off on my camera as I tried to capture proof of yet another color!

Brown / Gray Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
Brown / Gray Slime Mold aka Wolf's Milk aka Lycogala Epidendrum
In My Sunflower Garden ~ JaguarJulie
Take a look towards the top of that picture. The cushion-like blobs are tinier than the pink at the bottom of the photo. The colors are grays and browns; I've seen the color of hombre used for this - I think this might be that!

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