Mother Nature is full of surprises.
Meet the Clathrus archeri, a freakish type of mushroom also known as “devil’s fingers” — and when you see it, you’ll totally understand the nickname.
Native to New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia, devil’s fingers looks more like an alien creature than any mushroom I’ve ever seen before.
Most mushrooms are produced aboveground on soil, but devil’s fingers hatch from an egg-like sack — and the hatching process is equally fascinating as it is creepy.
According to its Wikipedia page, “the young fungus erupts from a suberumpent egg by forming into four to seven elongated slender arms initially erect and attached at the top. The arms then unfold to reveal a pinkish-red interior covered with a dark-olive spore-containing gleba. In maturity it smells of putrid flesh.” Ick.
Recently, devil’s fingers have become somewhat of a viral phenomenon; people are both engrossed and grossed out by the fleshy red “hand” with tentacles that emerge from its egg.
Scroll down to watch the devil’s fingers bloom before your very eyes, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Clathrus archeri is a fungus. Also known as devil’s fingers or octopus stinkhorn, it was introduced to the U.K. from Australia and New Zealand.
Instead of growing straight from the earth like most mushrooms, devil’s fingers bloom and burst out of an egg-like sack.
Four to eight tentacles resemble the fleshy hand of a demon or an alien. Their pinkish-red color, sticky surface and potent odor attracts flies, which spread the spores and further the species.
According to the Encyclopedia of Life, the egg is the only edible stage, but should only be consumed in a wilderness-survival circumstance. It's otherwise inedible.
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