The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms

Collecting Physarum polycephalum from the wild, and culturing

Has anyone collected this species in the wild? Can one remove some/all of the organism, and at what stage in the life-cycle?

And a different question- can one grow the amoeba on a base of solidified 'oat water', or do you have to have agar prep?

As you can deduce, I have a log pile, bark mulch, a petri dish with cover, and dropper- but nothing else.......

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I would like to know this too. As far as I can see, everybody seems to be getting their Physarum posted to them from Carolina - I find this idea both wonderful and a bit disturbing, that perhaps all over the world thousands of people are playing with a multinucleate mass of one particular individual cell...

I suppose ideally you would want to take the fruiting bodies if you could find them, this being its own choice of state for being transported.

If you find any plasmodium you could try to get a leading edge to crawl onto an oat flake, then take that away. Plasmodium doesn't seem to mind this too much but in my experience it absolutely hates to be cut or scraped, whether because it needs to be safe inside its protoplasmic secretions or just doesn't like to have its internal organisation disrupted I don't know. ?

Anyway good luck, please let us know if you find any.

We have had some posted to us from the university in Bristol. This is wonderful, but will have to store in fridge, and wait till summer- we don't warm the house much at night, and think it might be too cold- ditto outdoors.

We may start a culture now, but only use a small part-

Will do a concerted Physarum hunt next summer, when they are growing.

Thanks for the advice. We did find three other slime moulds a month ago, but none of them showed any interest in their oats when removed from logs (with bark) and brought indoors. Not Physarum.

I'm afraid I'm a Carolina collector myself, never had much luck foraging - though I always turn logs and mulch on woodland walks! I know there is a method for culturing from bark, I have instructions somewhere, can dig them out if needed.

I have located wild physarum growing on moss as well as fallen timber and would welcome a copy of your bark culture guide if you find it.


Hi Roger, try going here and search inside for "collecting bark", and there's a bit about moist chambers for culturing straight after it:

(I'd recommend buying the book anyway, it's a wonderful all-round introductory guide with fabulous illustrations by Henry Stempen, if you like that sort of thing.)

I've collected a fair amount in the wild  see here:

but the slime molds seem to not enjoy having me take them indoors, even if kept humid and on their natural moss substrates. I've tried agar too but no luck.

It looks like when I find them, they are always a day or two away from sporulating. Best time to spot them here in coastal British Columbia seems to be in late August/Early September right when theforest floor is starting to get dewy again but before the obvious big flush of wild fungi. There is definitely some variation in the wild strains and I am eager to compare their relative intelligences in mazes but have not yet cracked the propagation of the wild slime molds. I'd love to get a few different strains going so I could send samples out to the rest of you.

Been having the same issue myself.

I've been finding new ones every day. But they all die

Hi all,  I'm new here, so apologies if I am breaking any conventions.

I am interested in looking at competitive behaviour in Physarum (and/or related species).  However, I cannot find anywhere in the UK that supplies Physarum.

I am happy to go hunting for Physarum, but I don't know how abundant it is in UK woods, and I suspect that now is the wrong time of year.  Does anyone know how I can get my hands on some?



Hi Paul,

Blades Biological will sell you some :

 You might have to email them to ask for it, don't know if it's in the catalogue. They get theirs from Carolina Biological so you pay a lot in postage. But it should get to you clean and ready for action.

Hi Sarah,

   That's great!  Many thanks!


Hi. My Pp is from Carolina but I have collected Fuligo septica and Lycogala epidendrum from the wild. I have also managed to grow Arcyria denudata, a Stemonitis sp. and F. septica just by keeping hardwood sawdust damp and waaaaiting. I think if you found Physarum in the wild, the plasmodial stage would be best for just picking up and dumping in a damp dark place. The Carolina stuff does just fine in a sandwich box on a damp paper towel with a couple of oatflakes. Plasmodium that gets and stays very wet tends to disintegrate, at least in my hands :)

It dosnt disintegrate as such, this is a part of the life cycle. When wet they grow flagella, separate and swim. Once conditions begin to dry, they absorb the flagella and cluster.

So if this happens to you again, very very slowly start to dry out but have the air slightly humid.


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