Identification: Help me identify unusual fungus

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by arfbark, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. arfbark

    arfbark Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, CA., USA
    I've never seen this fascinating fungus. It has seven rubbery "arms" like a star-fish, and in the exact center, a mushroom-like ball that looks like a medium sized marshmallow. I took it home, and as it dried, the arms closed around the soft "marshmallow" and lost their rubberiness. It reminds me of a cotton boll. When I sat it in a plate of water, the "arms" opened and became rubbery and it stood up on the points of the arms to not get too wet. What is it????
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,894
    Likes Received:
    629
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Try searching "earth star", that may be the right term.
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,468
    Likes Received:
    538
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  4. arfbark

    arfbark Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, CA., USA
    Thanks! It looks so similar to other "Geastrum", it must be one. I was amazed that a fungus was evolved enough that it would be able to protect itself from drying out by folding up, and from sogging-up and decomposing by "standing" when it is in a puddle. I dropped it in a bowl of water when it was opened, and the "marshmallow" part floats out of water, (as if on a raft), on the star-like base.
    Thanks for solving the puzzle of what seemed to me to be an alien life form!

    arfbark
     
  5. Illecippo

    Illecippo Active Member

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Genoa (Italy)
    maybe also astraeus hygrometricus.

    Bye

    Nico
     
  6. arfbark

    arfbark Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Morgan Hill, CA., USA
    Hmmm. Thanks for another lead to follow-up on. From the pictures I've seen it could be either Geastrum or astraeum hydrometricus. They're similar looking. I found it here in California if that is another clue. I'm google-searching both now; I hope to find out why the marshmallow part is protected the way it is. I'm still amzazed to discover fungi, that people think of as the lowest of low on the scale of life, are adapted to do more than pop up in some wet place! Thanks again for your suggestion!

    arfbark
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  7. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    The astraeus photos I found, seem to typically have an irregular pattern to the top of the extended star shape protruding parts.

    Whereas the images of the geastrum appeared to me smooth on top in most cases.

    That might be worth looking at for comparison.
     
  8. Illecippo

    Illecippo Active Member

    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Genoa (Italy)
    :D

    Next time, take a photo and put it here in the forum!

    See You Soon

    Nico (from Genoa, Italy, with rain :( )
     

Share This Page