Mitrula paludosa or bog beacon, the clean water indicator

Bog beacon

Have you ever seen small yellow mushrooms with strange hats growing right out of water or a puddle? Maybe you did, and you paid no attention. It is understandable, as there are plenty of other mushrooms that grow in the woods, which are edible, or provide us with useful benefits. Nevertheless, let us take a closer look at this small and quite unique fungus and tell you where it grows, what it looks like and whether there are other benefits that we can make use of.

What does a bog beacon look like?

Mitrula paludosa is one of the saprotrophic sac fungi and you can identify it rather easily thanks to its luminous yellow-orange caps, which to some extent resemble small mallets. The shape is irregular, club-shaped, and the height rarely exceeds 3 centimetres. So, it is a tiny, but very interesting and very unconventional fungus.

It grows straight out of the water

You may see bog beacon only at the beginning of summer that is at the turn of May and June. It grows directly out of puddles and it is regarded a swamp fungi, but you can also see it growing on twigs which are usually completely submerged in water. Most often, you can see bog beacon in stagnant shallow waters and at the edges of waterways or peat bogs. If you see it, you know that the water is clean because this fungi acts as a clear water indicator. It prefers higher altitudes, and interestingly enough, nature preservation parks where you can see it most often. But if the conditions are right you can also find it elsewhere.

Look at it, but please, let it be…

The bog beacon is a small, nice fungus that acts as some type of decorative element. Even though it is an indicator of clear water, we do not recommend drinking the water around it. But it certainly has its place in nature. It is an endangered inedible fungus and we do not have any direct benefit from it, but it is a nice natural element which makes our grooves and forests more interesting…

Photo: Zdeněk Pelda

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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