The Blue Green Rooster Tail

Here goes! This one goes back to 1537 AD and Paracelsus. He was engaged in the production of his "elixir of life" when he came across a very strange-looking vegetable-mass. He called it nostoc! We all know what Nostoc is. It is a filamentous blue-green algae. It is like a pearl necklace in a puffy gelatinous matrix. Paracelsus had come across a glob of the stuff.

Nostoc masses get airborne and blown around. If it falls in moist place it can grow too much larger size and there are records of miles of ground covered by the slimy goo. Icebergs in the ocean have been found "covered" by the stuff! In China they eat it and also use it in their bird-nest soup. A Nostoc fall from the sky in Kentucky [Sci. Amer. Suppl.2: 426. 1876] has come to be known as "Kentucky Wonder." And you thought Kentucky Wonder was a bush string bean! This Kentucky Wonder is flesh colored and has the flavor of frog legs or spring chicken. Domestic animals love this wondrous stuff!

Not all varieties of Nostoc taste good. One version of the bad stuff is called Pwdre Ser. Poets love finding this Pwdre Ser. Poets often luck-out in finding Pwdre Ser at night and with their substantial imaginations they are off quick-as-a-flash like to reveries unmatched.

"That the Starres eat ... that those falling Starres, as some call them, which are found on the earth in the form of a trembling jelly, are their excrement." Henry More (1656 AD)


"When I had taken up what I supposed a fallen star I found I had been cozened with a jelly." Dryden (1679 AD)

William Summervile (1740 AD) offers the following:

Swift as the Shooting Star that gilds the night
With rapid transient Blaze, she runs, she flies;
Sudden she stops or nor longer can endure
The painful course, but drooping sinks away,
And like that falling Meteor, there she lies
A Jelly cold on earth.

Star Jelly or star excrement! Robert Boyle in 1744 noted that the vulgar call it star-shot. Huxley said it was not star-shot, star-crap or other stellar bodily fluids but Nostoc.


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