Wolf's Milk Slime Mold, Lycogala epidendrum
Reticulariaceae or Wolf's Milk Slime Mold Family

Young fruiting body

Starts life as a population of nearly microscopic red creatures that feast on bacteria. Eventually they come together and join to make a reproductive structure, which is shaped like a small ball, about half an inch across or smaller. Color is usually pink, but may be orange, red, greenish or brownish. If punctured, oozes a pink toothpaste-like material. As it matures, the balls turn brown to grayish brown, and the pink innards turn into a mass of pale brown to gray powdery spores which are realeased when the balls rupture (as in lower part of picture at right).

Striking in the pink to red stage, but otherwise easily overlooked. It occurs in the Park, but we have no idea how common it is. Look for it in moist forested places; the upper pictures were taken in the flooplain of Connelly's Run near the South Bridge of the Riverway.

When young the pink to red color is a good identification character, and the hot pink innards will confirm. In the mature stage it could be mistaken for a very small puffball.

Mature fruiting body
Fruiting bodies on wood


Fruiting bodies

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