Does your car look like this? It may not be just dirt

ATLANTA — If you've ever noticed little dots of what looks like clay all over your car or home, you may have been hit by artillery fungus.

The fungus grows in decaying organic matter and shoots debris up to 18 feet away onto nearby surfaces.

Channel 2's Lori Wilson talked to Georgia plant biologist Marin Brewer, who said the fungus is not harmful or aggressive but it does get everywhere.

"It likes mulch, so that's where people come across it a lot, in landscaping mulch," Brewer said.

Channel 2 Action News viewer Tim Ware reached out to us when he noticed dots all over his car and in his neighborhood.

"It's just the dad-gummest thing you've ever seen," Ware said. "Look at the hood here. I had it all over the hood. I came out here and this whole parking lot... the stuff was everywhere."


Brewer said it's the way the fungus spreads its spores that earned it its name.

"It shoots its spores up toward the sunlight, and what happens is if there is a car nearby or somebody's house nearby, it will either attach to their siding or to their car," Brewer said.

Brewer said the fungus can shoot its spores a long distance and they stick.

"It's really difficult to get off of a home or a car once it's there."

Ware's complex switched to pine straw, which is not a home for the fungus. He said he's just glad to have the mystery solved.

"So I'm looking at this, and I said, 'Well, I've got to call WSB. Surely, they've done something on this," Ware said. "I had no idea what it was, and I've lived in Atlanta for 71 years."

Brewer said bird's nest fungus can have the same impact on siding and cars. She said not to worry though, because it's not harmful to people or pets.