August 28, 2010
August 28 - Cyttaria espinosae
Here's another parasite that people eat on purpose. Cyttaria espinosae is a fungus that is a parasite of beech trees (Nothophagus) and is native to Chile, where locals call it Digüeñe, Lihueñe or Quideñe. The fungus produces fruiting bodies that look remarkably like golf balls - and for a similar reason. The little divots in the fruiting body seem to promote air flow around them - which helps the fungal spores disperse in the wind. Locals like to serve them in salads and it supposedly has a gelatinous texture.