It's commonly called "snot" but what would be the scientific name for it?
The scientific name was given to this organism by Paracelcus in the 17th Century and adopted by Linnaeus. It is late latin, a latinization of the Anglo-Dutch vernacular Nostoch, as Nostoc commune, or common snot.
Why does it occur?
It is a cosmopolitan terrestrial cyanobacterium, and is found in most climates, perhaps not in arid areas.
What kind of gardens/garden conditions is it found in?
It is usually found in parts of the garden which have been left as lawn or uncultivated patches, as it spends most of its time as a dry component of the thatch or leaf litter. It is a resurrection plant, as it is able to dry out and almost stall its metabolism for long periods, and springs back to action with persistent rain.
What parts of Australia does it occur in?
It is found all across the continent. In 2001, a study found that it was widely distributed, and more recently Dr Wendy Williams in Queensland has shown it is useful in fallow pasture to get seeds started.
Best way to get rid of it? Is it toxic to handle, or can you pick it up with gloves to remove it?
It is not toxic to handle; you can pick it up with gloves or bare hands. Do not get rid of it; it is doing an important job capturing fresh Nitrogen to replenish the Nitrogen leached by the rain.
Will it be toxic to nearby flowers and plants?
In some parts of the world it has been used as a food thickener. It doesn't affect nearby plants in any bad way, and it may act as a seed-safe for grass seeds.
If i leave it will it disappear on its own accord?
Yes, it will dry and shrink back into the thatch and the leaf litter.
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