"Some things in their natural state have the most VIVID colours."
~ Willow, The Wicker Man
Wandering the Campbell Creek Tract back in June I came across this woodland aberration:
I would have passed her by, thinking her some kind of human refuse, had she not hailed me as she postured along the creekside like a Las Vegas showgirl. Skeptically, I weaved through the exclusion fencing to inspect my questionable caller. Simultaneously appalled & awestruck, I realized that this was actually something living -- I had heard right, she did holler at me. I snapped a hurried handful of photographs, feeling ambivalent, amazed, horrified. Her color was almost synthetic, it was so vivid…
What the Helvella is this parrot of the boreal forest, this freakish fuzz brazenly camped along the water's edge? I don't know. One would think that something this garish would make an easy mark for identification, but not so. In my search, I exhausted all the permutations of 'fuzzy, furry, pink, hot pink, bright pink, mold/mould, slime mold/mould, fungus on ground, soil, near stream, river, in forest, in Alaska' that can be assembled. And it was all for naught.
She (most decidedly a she, or as much a she as a [slime?]mold can be) retains her 'mystery woman' status for now.
Until such time as I discover her true identity (& I welcome suggestions), I dub her Mysterium luridus; Mysterium for being so strange, difficult to explain & inviting much speculation, luridus because she is at the same time, both distasteful & appealing. Wishing I could feature her on a milk carton, hoping for answers I ask: Have you seen her?