This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Artillery fungus

Mrs. Joan Doe called my office yesterday to inquire about black spots on the leaves of her rhododendron . . and on the patio bricks and on the side of her house. I brought a sample back to the office and looked at it under a dissecting scope. Hmm, very curious: the size and shape of a scale insect, but when pricked it schmooshed out like a glob of tar. Couldn't be of biological origin. No way.

Yes way. Behold and wonder at the amazing artillery fungus. The organism grows in decomposing mulch, then reproduces and spreads by shooting out massive spore globules, generally in the direction of light. The literature suggests that the number one casualty is the expensive white sports car parked in the driveway next to a mulched flower bed. Is damage covered by insurance? It depends on how strictly one interprets the term 'mold.' Mold is usually not covered by insurance. But the artillery fungus is a basiomycete and not technically a mold. Call in the attorneys!


  1. My friend had artillery fungus too on her room so she called a mold remediation company to remove it. She even sterilized her room because she's afraid they'll come back.

  2. Is she afraid the fungus will come back or the people from the mold remediation company?