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Group of Fungi: Slime Molds
Latin Name: Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa (O. F. Müll.) T. Macbr.
Common Name: Coral Slime Mold
Description: Erect, simple or branched columns arising from a thin layer that extends over the substrate, usually slimy and translucent at first but then turning white (more rarely pink or pale yellow), often 4 inches (10 cm) or more in total extent and up to 3/8 in (1.0 cm) high; stalk lacking; spores produced individually on tiny stalks; spores white in mass.
Biological Role: The vegetative stage (called a plasmodium) in the life cycle of this organism feeds upon the bacteria associated with decaying wood.
Habitat: On decaying wood in broadleaf or conifer forests; less commonly occurring on leaf litter or mosses.
Geographical Distribution: Found throughout the world wherever decaying wood is present.
Comments: Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa is unlike anything else likely to be encountered in the forests of eastern North America. After a period of rainy weather in late spring and early summer, this species is often exceedingly common. Extensive fruitings can cover large areas of decaying logs and stumps. Ceratiomyxa fruticulosa is not closely related to the other slime molds considered on this web site.