Sunday 14 February 2016

Geastrum triplex (Collared Earthstar)

Geastrum triplex (Collared Earthstar)

I received a phone call from a friend who'd spotted an  'unusual looking' fungus growing behind his green house.  I duly requested a photograph to be sent via mobile phone and it appeared to be the Collared Earthstar, but of course I needed to see for myself.

Despite being Christmas Eve, it was important I took a look before it, or they vanished.

There were three or four growing a few feet apart.  I have not seen many Earthstar but when I have, my first thoughts are how tiny they are in reality.  As even when the rays are fully formed this fungus would fit in the palm of your hand.  These were a little past their best with the rays looking a little brown and sodden but the 'bulb' was still firm and a nice grey colour.

The Collared Earthstar more than likely is the most common of the Geastrum.

The characteristics are as follows:

Initially the 'bulb' is only 5cm across.  It opens out to about 10 cm and has between 4 and 8 pointed rays. The spore sac is greyish in colour and has a central pore.   The rays grow more upright with age and eventually slightly turn back on themselves.  This can cause them to crack a little.  The spore sac looks as though it is sitting on a little collar.

It usually grows  in leaf litter near to deciduous trees between late Summer to Autumn.

Below is a photograph.  The rays are past their best.

A more detailed photograph can be seen at on Browse 5.