Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Earthstar Mushroom

Earthstar (Geastrum saccatum)



Other common names: Common Earthstar, Sessile Earthstar, Rounded Earthstar

The earthstar is a common puffball-type mushroom, but is often overlooked because it is small (3/4" or so) and is usually found in thick leaf litter. The two earthstars in the photo above are both immature. The sporocarp on the one in the foreground is about half open, but hasn't even started opening yet on the mushroom in the rear.



When fully open, the rays recurve back underneath the spore sac. In this case, they are mostly hidden in the leaf litter and appear to have damaged areas.



When fully dry, spores are ejected through the apical pore. Rain striking the spore sac or wind blowing across the apical pore aid disbursal.

This group of earthstars was really pushing the limits of their growing season. I took the first two photos on Saturday. That night our temperature dropped into the mid-twenties. I think the less developed earthstars were killed by the freezing temperatures. However, the muchrooms that were farther along appear to have already developed their spores. It was time for them to dry out and disburse the spores anyway. The bottom photo was taken on Tuesday.

Thanks to Mushroom Observer for the ID and to Mykoweb and Mushroom Expert for additional information.
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8 comments:

oldmanlincoln said...

I got to start coming here. Glad you stopped and left a comment on my blog. At least I know where to come now.

I don't know anything about mushrooms and would kill myself if I tried to pick them myself. So I learned something.

Thanks for the visit.

Lana Gramlich said...

Neat! Thanks for the info! I'm going to have to keep an eye out for these in future.

Q said...

Hi Marvin,
Your mushrooms are very interesting. I enjoyed learning about this one.
Hope you warm right back up.
Have a Happy Holiday,
Sherry

Marvin said...

Abraham: Thanks for dropping by. I've got a couple of your blogs added to my reader. Great photography and a wry wit are a good combination.

Don't quote me on this, but I don't think this mushroom is poisonous. However, all the sources I checked classified it as "inedible". Translation: It tastes awful.

Lana: You should have some earthstars, especially under pines.

Sherry: You have a Happy Holiday and a safe journey too.

lisa said...

Cool! I just love a new mushroom to hunt and ID, and there sure are plenty to be found in the woods and my yard. Thanks for the links, too!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have found Earth Stars at a park that we frequent. They are such amazing little things.

I am glad you showed us about these links for Iding mushrooms. I find one every once in awhile that I can't figure out. This will be most helpful.

Marvin said...

Thanks, Lisas and your welcome for the links. The Mushroom Observer site will provide and ID if you cannot run one down yourself.

Marvin said...

Lisa @ Millertime: I haven't been ignoring your comments. I didn't know they were there because I didn't receive any email notifications. Sorry about that.