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Plant of the Month
May 2024


Hemitrichia serpula (Scop.) Lister


This month, we highlight one of our non-plant taxa, the eye-catching slime mould Hemitrichia serpula. With its habit of forming an elongate, winding and branched plasmodiocarp (fruiting body) uniting into a closed net, it’s easy to understand where it gets its epithet ‘serpula’, but also its common name, the Pretzel Slime Mould. Within the usually bright yellow plasmodiocarp are beautifully banded-reticulate ornamented spores and a stunning tangle of twisted threads, called capillitium, marked with spiny spiral bands, best seen under a microscope. The whole specimen covers a few square cm.

Pretzel Slime Mould is considered a cosmopolitan species in both temperate and tropical regions of the world, and very common when conditions are right, growing on woody debris and ground litter. The only specimen in our collection is from Walcott Inlet in the subtropical Kimberley region, from a moderately dense rainforest in a swamp.

Photo: K. Knight

Find out more about Hemitrichia serpula (Scop.) Lister