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Monday, December 6, 2010
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.
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.
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?