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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?


jeanlivingsimple 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.

Jackie 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!

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

rose AKA Walk in the Woods - she/her 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.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Are you sure they aren't tiny little aliens?