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Monday, December 6, 2010

Barometer Earthstar


false earthstar

I don't need any barometer, today, to tell me that winter has arrived. No snow pics though- I didn't want to take the camera out on skis. So, I'm reaching back to late spring to share a nifty little fungus that I don't think I ever shared.

false earthstar

This is called the false earthstar, Astraeus hygrometricus, also barometer earthstar, or hygroscopic earthstar. The rays curl up when they are dry and open when wet. I have to say that I'm no fungus expert, and if anyone wants to show me a good reason that this is a true earthstar instead, I'm willing to listen. But, it has 9-12 rays, and no stalk. These pictures were taken the morning after it had rained all night, so it makes sense that they are open. And it's in sandy soil.

false earthstar

I was pretty excited to see these. I'd seen them in the books, but never in real life. They are small, about 2" across. Aren't they fun?



10 comments:

Jean said...

Heck yes...they are fun and interesting! New to me.:)

RNSANE said...

You must feel a real sense of discovery when you come across something that you've only seen in books. Very good! I, of course, haven't even seen it in books so I really feel enlighted now!

rainfield61 said...

It is very fun, I very much agree with you.

So great to put them in pictures.

Shinade said...

They are new to me also. I have never seen. I didn't even know they existed.

I love our finds and also that you always know what you found!
Jackie:-)

vanilla said...

New one on me. A day during which one learns nothing is a wasted day.

Thanks for the science/esthetics lesson.

Ann said...

I've never seen or heard of them before but they are very cool. I would have been excited to find something like that

Walk in the Woods said...

They *ARE* fun!

spinninglovelydays said...

You know, I'm not sure if this will make sense to you, but I love that book "Miracles on Maple Hill" and your blog often reminds me of scenes from it. Anyway, thanks for telling us about the false earthstar. It's a really cool little fungus. :)

Sharkbytes said...

Jean- It's not every day one sees little "mushrooms" looking like they are walking across the sand, eh?

Carmen- I just LOVE it when it happens!

rainfield- if only I had taken more pictures. With fungi, I seldom know what's important to take pictures of.

Jackie- I wish I ALWAYS knew... I'm working on that.

vanilla- Learning something new is one of my QD standards.

Ann- now that I've found the false ones, I'll need to try to find the real ones!

Rose- They are like hermit crabs of the fungus world.

Ivy- I don't know that book. Now I'll have to try to find it. But I think that must be a great compliment.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Are you sure they aren't tiny little aliens?

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