"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

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.


  1. Antarctic Beech, Nothofagus, surely? not Beech, Fagus?

  2. Amazing similarity to golf balls.

  3. They are related to the morel mushroom. They are gelatinous (like ocra) and are delicious - and colorful - in salads.

  4. Hi Kathleen -
    They're actually not phylogenetically related to morels, but as the post says, they are gelatinous and some people like to eat them.