One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A European fungus which produces a shiny spherical black fruiting body on dead or dying wood, especially ash.
Daldinia concentrica, family Xylariaceae, subdivision AscomycotinaAlso called King Alfred's cakes
- ‘Black cramp balls, or King Alfred's Cakes, pepper the trunk of an old ash.’
- ‘Certain fungi make very good tinder, in particular; cramp balls and horse's hoof fungus.’
- ‘Daldinia concentrica also known as King Alfred's cakes, cramp balls or coal fungus is one of the more common species.’
- ‘Dead ash trees are the best places to look for the, shiny fruiting bodies of the fungus Daldinia concentrica, King Alfred's Cakes or cramp balls.’
- ‘Of course, even if you've done as I suggest, your cramp balls can be re-infested at a later date unless stored in a bug-proof container.’
So named because it was once believed to be a charm against cramp and ague.
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