It’s beautiful: the devil’s fingers, AKA the octopus fungus. Even just the name is like a barbed hook calculated to draw me in.
It has other interesting features, besides the awesome appearance.
While unappealing to us humans,
Stop right there. Am I not human? Did I not coo in delight when I first saw this lovely organism? Do I not want to see my grassy yard replaced with thousands of erupting fungal eggs?
But do continue.
what you’re seeing is actually a rather ingenious method of reproduction. The tentacles are laced with a foul smelling tissue, specially formulated to attract flies and other insects. When bugs come-a-knockin’, they get to feed on the slimy substance, but not before their feet are coated with fungus’ spores.
See? What’s unappealing about all that?