Woman stumped by bizarre 'fur' appearing in her garden: 'Pretty sure it's alive'

Looking for answers online, the woman said the puzzling clumps of black 'threads' appear at the time every year.

The odd black 'fur'-looking growths seen in the woman's garden.
A woman is seeking answers after finding odd 'fur' growths in her garden every year. Source: Facebook

Bizarre growths resembling “animal fur” emerging from the ground in an Aussie garden have left a woman rather stumped. The clumps of long black threads poking upright from the dirt, bark and fallen leaves appear at “the same time every year”, the confused homeowner explained.

Seeking answers online, the woman asked a group of experts if the recurring puffballs were “a type of fungi” or what was going on.

“At first I thought it was animal fur, but pretty sure it’s alive! Would be great if anyone knew what it was!” she said on Tuesday.

An administrator of the Australian and New Zealand Fungus Identification Facebook page was quick to identify the growths as a genus of fungus called “Phycomyces”. “Growing on a poop from a butt,” he cheekily jested.

“That is what happens when my cat does not cover poop properly,” another person chimed in.

Speaking to Yahoo News, fungi expert Professor Dr Brett Summerell said the woman’s backyard find is “a pin mould — probably a species of Phycomyces in the fungal kingdom”.

“They often grow on mushrooms as they decay, on animal droppings and in other things that are decaying in wet conditions,” he explained. “You can often see related species in the fridge on old fruit and veggies if you leave them in there too long.”

Although they “aren’t hazardous in outdoors situations”, pin mould “can be a problem indoors on rare occasions and cause allergies,” he said.

The pin mould growing in the woman's garden.
The woman's backyard find is 'a pin mould — probably a species of Phycomyces in the fungal kingdom', an expert told Yahoo. Source: Facebook

According to a journal article published by Oxford Academic, Phycomyces is a “filamentous fungus” found in humid environments worldwide. “Rarely seen in nature, its spores are present occasionally in dung from mammals collected in humid forests,” it states.

With heavy rainfall drenching parts of the country’s east coast for months, numerous Aussies have shared photos of the strange-looking fungi they’ve found growing in their yards. Earlier this month, a NSW woman named Brittany found a fungus resembling “a piece of nougat and candied fruit”.

“Very bizarre to find suddenly growing in the backyard!” Brittany told Yahoo News. “I was hoping my dog wouldn’t show any interest.”

As meteorologists warn another wet La Niña system is possible later this year, people may expect to see even more mushrooms appearing in the wild.

The Food Safety Information Council has warned people who want to partake in wild mushroom foraging to be “extremely careful” if they want to avoid “deadly” consequences.

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