Sarcosoma globosum, or “witches cauldron” is a threatened species of mushroom from Europe, and this latest find is only the second time it was discovered in the area.
The aptly named mushroom actually resembles a witch’s cauldron, with its matte, darkish, rounded bowl and an opening at the top with a lip, filled with some kind of glistening goo-like substance.
After traveling to New Brunswick for a sample, Alfred Justo, mushroom expert and mycologist of the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, confirmed that the find was, indeed, witches cauldron.
“It’s always exciting to find a species that are not common,” he told CBC. “Especially in this case, a species like this one, they have a very particular look.”
“This collection will further our knowledge about the biology of this potentially rare species,” the museum wrote on May 20. “Big thanks to the McIntosh family & Aaron Dowding at Nature Trust of New Brunswick for alerting us to the presence of this species, and allowing us to make a collection.”
According to Justo, the find brings hope to a species scientists fear is vanishing from the world.
“There’s been some concerns that the populations of these mushrooms have been declining for some years,” he said. “In general, we know so little about the distribution of the species and how common it is that any new find will allow us to learn a little bit more.”
The discovery comes only a few months after a trove of witches cauldron was uncovered in Latvia, where the species was previously thought to be extinct.
“Witches cauldron is commonly found with spruce forests and is commonly found near rivers and streams,” Justo explained. “In this particular case there was no river or stream nearby, but there was a lot of spruce in the area.”
The mushroom also reportedly likes warm winters, and is most often found in early spring, when the snow first melts.
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