Has star jelly fallen from sky into Herefordshire garden?

They appeared, apparently from nowhere, at the side of Alan Dickson’s garden pond in rural Herefordshire today (Sunday).

Mr Dickson has lived at his home at Westhope, near Canon Pyon, for almost 40 years, but has never seen the jelly-like blobs before.

“I would say they are animal rather than vegetable in origin, but I’m really not sure what they are or how they got there,” he said.

“They were not there yesterday. It looks like a fairly rare occurrence.”

The appearance of blobs like this have caused debate around the country for years.


A getatinous substance sometimes called ‘star jelly’ or ‘astral jelly’ is sometimes found on grass or trees.

According to folklore, it is left on the Earth during meteor showers.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Ursids meteor shower can currently be seen in the night sky.

It happens every December and is visible until Boxing Day.

Up to 10 shooting stars may be seen each hour as it reaches its peak.

Star jelly is said to evaporate shortly after having fallen from the sky.

Other explanations for the substance range from it being the remains of frogs or toads, or perhaps the indigestible remains of amphibians that have vomited out by mammals.

Reports of it date back to the 14th century.

But the most probable explanation for Mr Dickson’s blobs may be that it is nostoc – a dark blue-green, jelly-like organism sometimes found in soggy lawns.

Its unusual appearance has earned it nicknames such as star jelly, star shot, or star slime. In America it has also been called witch’s butter or witch’s jelly.

Nostoc is a cyanobacterium – a microscopic, single-celled organism that form single-celled threadlike structures called filaments. These filaments can form colonies held together by a jelly-like covering that is large enough to be seen by the naked eye.

Hereford Times