Naked lady party?
Howard Stanbury
Naked lady party?

You can’t make this shit up: The naked ladies crocus (Colchicum autumnale) is being plagued by the sooty-black smut fungus (Urocystis colchici). Both of them happen to be extremely rare, probably due to banned books and cultural shame about the naked body. Oh, not THAT kind of nudity and smut? Scientific American explains:

The naked ladies crocus, which itself is listed as a “near threatened” species in the U.K., gets its name from its propensity to lose its spring leaves before the plant flowers in the autumn, leaving the buds “naked.” The rotting spring leaves, meanwhile, are the only known host for the sooty-black smut fungus. (Smut fungi, by the way, get their name from the German word schmutz, meaning dirt, which they resemble…)

The smut fungus has reached “critically endangered” status and, threatened by conservative librarians everywhere, has only made four appearances since the 1930s — the most recent of which was in the U.K. in July. I know you’re sexually open-minded and all, but stay away from the smut:

Because of its rarity, the smutty fungus is a legally protected species in the U.K. and is considered to be of “principal conservation importance.” The Forestry Commission warns that it should not be picked and asks anyone else who observes it in the region to contact the Cotswold Fungus Group.

That’s right, DON’T TOUCH SMUT. It is OK to touch naked ladies. Nature teaches us so many important lessons!