Not toxic and quite harmless

devils fingersA perfect description of an Australian import into Europe.

Yep, I definitely have a bit of slug slime between the toes.

You know the feeling. You head out into the garden, despite overnight rain, wearing inappropriate footware. Longish grass, not looking where one is going. And yech. You step in something that is definitely going to need scraping off later.

I hate to boast but we don’t really have a slug or snail problem in this garden. The freezing winters seem to kill off most eggs in the soil from the slugs.  And I think I’ve only ever found one snail in all the years of work here.

And that snail I found yesterday.  I blame this damp summer. It is bringing everyone out to play.

Most people suggest to contol your slug population you need to go out at night with a torch and pick them off your veg and favourite flowers.  All I need to do is go up to the shade garden (the damp shade garden this year) and follow my nose. dead mans hands

These wonderful fungus are called clathius acheri – devil’s fingers. Or octopus stinkhorn. For obvious reasons.  And they have been popping up in among the nice soft compost and humus of the shady floor among the shrubs for a few years now.  You find them first by odour. As in ‘what on earth is that rotting stink?’ And then by their absurd red colour and shape. It’s as if someone forgot to tell these fungus they are not at the beach. Starfish in rural France.

I had to look them up and waded through pages of the most disgusting images to get to them.  They apparently emit a foul rotting odour to attact flies so they can spread their spores.

DSC03247But they also attract something else. And that is slugs. In broad daylight, I can go up to each stinky fungus and find two or three slugs feasting on the red beast.  Very easy disposal indeed.

Now how about that for your breafkast reading?  I only went up to the potting shed to pester Artur and put off starting work for the day.

He was in a cranky mood and wouldn’t come out of his pot to sit on my lap.

That is his death stare, glaring at me. Most effective. Or maybe he was just as disgusted as I was by the wafting on the still air fungus stink.