Fig 1
FRUIT BODY: Up to 10cm long. A tongue-like growth that forms in the inflorescences of grasses and is a hard mass called a sclerotium. Blackish-purple in colour, slightly fusiform with longitudinal furrows this much overlooked species can often be overlooked. The other stage that this fungus may be found in is as a drumstick shaped growth arising from the ground that has numerous purplish heads covered in small openings known as ostioles. GILLS/PORES: N/A. FLESH: Firm and white. SPORES: Hyaline, smooth, becoming septate, thread-like. HABITAT: Solitary or in small groups on individual grass inflorescences such as found on Cock's-Foot, Rye, Oats and Barley. SEASON: Frequent in some years harder to locate in others. Autumn. EDIBILITY: Inedible. An incredibly toxic species with a wicked history that is linked to witches, divine punishment for sinners and outbreaks of madness. This small growth can be responsible for paralysis, convulsions and hallucinations as well as causing burning sensations in the limbs and eventually gangrene. Strangely a processed derivative of the ingredients can be used to treat migraines.

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