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Homeowner baffled by jelly-like substance found in their garden: 'They look like egg cases'

The little ball-like growths were found among the soil in clusters.

The little ball-like growths were found among the soil in clusters.

Photo Credit: Reddit

A homeowner from the United Kingdom was left utterly perplexed at the sight of an unusual substance in their garden. 

In an effort to determine if it was mold, fungus, or if it was "some weird animal droppings," the Redditor posted a picture in the r/mycology subreddit, which focuses on mushroom hunting and fungi cultivation, to try to get some answers.

Describing the pile as "dark brown/green jelly/mucus looking things" about 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, the Redditor suggested "they look like egg cases (like sharks/rays) but slug shaped" — which are usually found after the birth of sharks or rays. They also said it was found in weeds on the patio among damp and shady areas. 

Assistance arrived from a fellow Reddit user, who provided a simple instruction: "Compare with Nostoc commune cyanobacteria."

According to the University of Florida, Nostoc commune cyanobacteria is sometimes known as "star jelly," "ground boogers," or "dragon snot," and is "among the most common and widespread cyanobacteria" found in moist environments. 

An archived web page from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research in Singapore noted that some forms of Nostoc commune are eaten in the Philippines, Indonesia, China, and Japan. 

While Nostoc commune does not pose a threat to plants, animals, or lawns, large masses of it can be slippery to walk on, "posing an issue for nursery and greenhouse walkways, where it is commonly seen," USA Today explains

It's possible but not all that easy to prevent further appearances over the long term. The University of Florida noted that "increasing drainage and reducing overhead irrigation" would help to limit the appearance of the bacteria, but it mostly depends on the situation. 

It added that a short-term removal solution would be to rake the area or dry it out.

The bacteria can also be spread in a number of ways, such as via foot traffic or gardening tools, and can grow quickly in humid areas like greenhouses. 

But it seems the case of the mysterious garden growth was solved on Reddit. "Thanks — looks exactly like this so [I] think it must be," the U.K. gardener replied.

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