Walking into a forest at night can be a creepy experience even without finding any of these natural monstrosities lingering among the trees. Who needs scary ghost stories by the fire when you can trip into these nightmare fueling fungi and plants?
Some are harmless, but they’re all haunting. Just another reason to stay inside. With the doors locked. Under many, many blankets.
1.) Doll’s Eye
Actaea pachypoda fungi sprout these ocular-esque orbs and carry deadly cariogenic toxin if ingested by humans can lead to cardiac arrest. Not that really look all that appetizing.
2.) Bleeding Tooth Fungus
Hydnellum pecki appears in several different forms, but this is definitely the creepiest. The bloody looking ooze is actually sap, and although it’s sometimes referred to as “strawberries and cream,” we wouldn’t recommend biting into the bitter fungi.
3.) Hooker’s Lips
Psychotria elata is found in the rainforests of Central and South America where its bright red bracts resembling puckered lips are often given as a popular gift of affection. However, it became a little too popular and the victim of deforestation to the point where it is now on the brink of extinction.
4.) False Morels
While genuine morel mushrooms can sell for a pretty penny, up to $20 per pound, inexperienced gatherers who nab this false one instead end up inflicting the poisonous carcinogenic hydrazine gyromitin onto their consumers. The fungi is responsible for about 20 percent of annual mushroom-related deaths.
5.) Girdled Dapperling
Mushrooms in the Lepiota genus often develop this nipple-like quality when they absorb moisture and cause the stem to protrude from the top.
6.) Snapdragon Seed Pod
When this annual flower, Antirrhinum majus, blooms, withers, and dies, it reveal its skull-like pod. That pod then spends the next month drying out and turning brown until it spits out more seeds.
7.) Purple Jellydisc Fungus
If you discover this on a dead log while out in the woods one night, don’t worry. You haven’t stumbled upon someone’s small intestine, just Ascocoryne sarcoides fungi. It’s odorless, tasteless, and inedible.
8.) Wood Ear
Auricularia auricula is unlike other cup-fungi and more like actual human ears with its fine hairs, veiny appearance, and rubbery feel. The good news is that even though it’s gross, it has also been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood coagulation.f
9.) Wrinkled Peach Mushroom
This blobby fungus, Rhodotus palmatus, can develop into disgusting doppelgängers of the human heart, lung, or stomach depending on its growth. It also oozes a bloody sap similar to the Bloody Tooth Fungus.
10.) Devil’s Fingers Mushroom
Though it appears to be a childlike zombie rising from its grave, this fungi is Clathrus archeri and grows into an even more menacing looking mushroom with fire-red fingers speckled with black orbs. Yeah, this was the less creepy photo option.
I knew there was a reason I was never outdoors-y: it’s TERRIFYING.