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This is a group of spores sitting on top of mulch. Notice the size of the spores is very small compared to the penny.
In these photos you see the spores in different stages. The brown spot in the yellow cup ends up on your house. The small white globe is what shot the spore onto your house.
Scientific name: Species of Sphaerobolus. What does artillery fungi look like? They resemble a tiny cream or orange-brown cup with one black egg. The cup is approximately 1/10 of an inch in diameter. Areas of mulch with artillery fungi may appear matted and lighter in color than the surrounding mulch. Are they a problem? They may be a problem. The fruiting body of this fungus orients itself towards bright surfaces, such as light-colored houses or parked automobiles. The artillery fungus “shoots” its black, sticky spore mass, which can be wind blown as high as the second story of a house. The spore mass sticks to the side of a building or automobile, resembling a small speck of tar. You may also find them on the under sides of leaves on plants growing in mulched areas.
the spore mass is very difficult to remove without damaging the surface to which it is attached. If removed, it leaves a stain. A few of these spots are barely noticeable, but as they accumulate,they may become very unsightly on houses or cars. What should be done? To date, there are no known controls for this fungus. With support from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and private mulch producers, Penn State researchers are studying the problem. They hope to find a wood or bark mulch on which the artillery fungus will not sporulate. One solution to the Artillery Fungus problem that is not horticulturally sound is to replace wood-based mulch with other types of mulch, such as black plastic or stone, in critical areas adjacent to homes and parking areas.
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