Writing prompt – coal fungus

King Alfred Cakes_Photo by Judy Darley

Since moving to North Somerset, I’ve spotted some strange phenomena in woodland: coal-black baubles clinging to tree trunks. Some investigation told me this is an inedible fungus, Daldinia concentrica, known commonly King Alfred’s cakes, coal fungus, carbon fungus, tinder bracket or cramp balls (you might want to re-read that last one).

Though not edible by human, they’re apparently great firelighters, which is ironic since their nickname ‘King Alfred’s cakes’ is from the story of King Alfred trying to get onto the Great British Bake Off, but failing as he kept burning the cakes.

Not all of this is entirely true…

Apart the fungi is widespread in deciduous woodland on dead and decaying wood, especially beech and ash.

I love this blend of folklore and nature.

Can you use this as a leaping off point for a short story or other creative work?

Read more about these fungi on the Woodland Trust website.

If you write or create something prompted by this idea, please let me know by emailing judydarley (at) iCloud.com. I’d love to know the creative direction you choose.