COMMON EARTHSTAR

Geastrum saccatum
EARTHSTAR FAMILY (Geastraceae)

Description
This mushroom is basically a rounded sac encircled by star like rays. The sac is about ¼ -3/4 inch wide when unopened. It is partially buried, round and somewhat flattened with a pointed top. When it is mature the outer wall splits to form 4-9 rays which spread, become star shaped and curve back under the fruiting body. The rays or arms are pink to brown and are about ½ -3/4 inch long.

Occurrence
The common earthstar grows alone or in groups under both conifers and hardwoods, in humus or leaf litter. It is seen from spring to fall. It is uncommon in Fontenelle Forest.

Comments
Its dull color makes it easy to overlook particularly if it is partly covered with leaf litter. Spore dispersal is similar to puffballs as the spores are released through the pore at the top by rain drops hitting the spore case or even by wind blowing across the pore.

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