Thursday, June 13, 2019

Earthstar Flower Shaped Fungus

This morning I was out in my front yard garden doing my normal morning routine. I pick up leaves and things which blow into my mulch along with weeding and pruning. As I approached the three Firecracker plants at the West edge of my garden, I noticed something extra at the base of the plant nearest the house. My favorite mushroom, if you can have a favorite fungus.

Earthstar Flower Shaped Fungus
Earthstar Flower Shaped Fungus
If I had found only one of these, I probably would have thrown it in my white bucket and continued on. However, finding four of these Earthstars grouped together made me want to photograph them and do a blog post!

Firecracker plant with earthstar fungus
Firecracker plant with earthstar fungus
That's the Firecracker plant that was supporting these four fungi! Off to the right, on the ground, you see a 16-inch stone walkway. To the right of the last stone is an area getting too much water from the downspout. This morning I put an extension on the downspout to direct that extra water into my grass.

It was three years ago that I saw my first Earthstar mushroom. That was on the other side of my yard and actually coming up near the lot line of the house that backs up there. Once I observed my first Earthstar, I started to see more and more of them, but always as singles. I'd pick them up and thought they seemed interesting, like little button flower-shaped mushrooms. It wasn't until today that I began to research them!

Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Geastrales
Family: Geastraceae
Genus: Myriostoma
Species: M. coliforme

"The genus is monotypic, containing the single species Myriostoma coliforme. It is an earthstar, so named because the spore-bearing sac's outer wall splits open into the shape of a star." --Wikipedia reference on Myriostoma.

I've long been a fan of Wikipedia and will try and find that reference when I want to immediately find out information about something.

"The order contains the single family Geastraceae, commonly known as "earthstars", which older classifications had placed in Lycoperdales, or Phallales." --Wikipedia reference on Geastrales.

As I did a Google image search for "flower-shaped fungus," I was seeing Myriostoma and Geastrum saccatum that represented other fungi that looked like what I had. Digging a little further, of course you see where those are the Genus and Family respectively!

The earthstars are pretty cool looking fungi. I much prefer them to two other types of fungi that I saw a lot of in my Jacksonville, Florida gardens. Those rather obnoxious mushrooms were the stinkhorns which were quite smelly and rather an orange color. Then, the rather horny stinkhorn I saw a few times was the Phallus impudicus. Woah, on those. I actually picked up a Phallus impudicus from the back yard butting up against my side yard golf cart path area. Pretty curious.

This is a photo mosaic of the pretty curious FUNgi I found on the edge of my East side yard where the neighbor's house backs up to mine. I believe it is a male. What do you think?

Phallus impudicus I presume?
Phallus impudicus I presume?
This curious speciment was quite rigid whereas those I was finding of the same species in my Jacksonville Florida garden were softer and more flexible!