Observation 26532: Astraeus pteridis (Shear) Zeller
When: 2009-10-09
No herbarium specimen

Notes: 10/17/09: It closed back down, though not all the way. In the past, I’ve been able to spritz other earthstars and get them to open up but this one was non-compliant.

10/16/09: Earthstar has opened even more despite a sunny, dry day. The air is humid.

10/15/09: It’s opened up! Rain and more rain did the trick. The spore sack is kind of fuzzy.

10/13/09: I placed this in the garden (next to the collard seedlings) so it could enjoy our first rain of the year. I brought it inside around 2pm to draw it and it had begun to crack open. It also has grown from 4.3cm to 5.5cm. This reminded me that when I first found this colony (troop?) of earth stars I was very excited because they were larger, when open, than A. hygrometricus. I can’t find my notes but an article at Wikipedia and the description of A. hygrometricus at Mykoweb both suggest that this is too big to be A. hygrometricus so I’m changing the name to A. pteridis.

Fruiting in a large group in an alley under an old coast live oak. This summer the area was cleared of a lot of ivy that made it harder to find these last season. I’m hoping to get this one to mature in my studio and have some sequential images. It’s 4.3cm across.

Proposed Names

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Comments

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I’m still learning
By: Debbie Drechsler (debdrex)
2009-10-12 10:47:36 CDT (-0500)

If you look through the observations on this site you’ll see them fruiting in a variety of locations. I find them in association with oak, which is what populates most of the places I walk. I’ve basically located places where I’ve seen the earthstars before and check back each year. I haven’t done any digging so don’t know what happens before they appear above ground. Darv has posted some good images of very young ones and some like this one at the following pages:
http://mushroomobserver.org/7593?search_seq=855736
http://mushroomobserver.org/5968?search_seq=855736
http://mushroomobserver.org/3337?search_seq=855736
I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that they develop underground and then emerge. This one was loose when I found it but that could be because gardeners come each week and rake the area.
Finally, Wikipedia has an article that answers some of our questions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astraeus_hygrometricus

Long-term project? Are these usually epigeous?
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2009-10-12 04:15:57 CDT (-0500)

Sounds like you’ve been keeping track of this for a while, Debbie. I’m a little surprised, in that I typically find this associated with conifers, especially Pinus. I wonder if there are varieties? I’ll admit to a certain fascination with Astraeus and Geastrum: they are, I suspect, closely related to truffles in some sense. One of the largest Geastrums I ever found was during the dead of summer quite deep (7 inches) under Noble fir on Larch Mountain. Had no clue what it was until Dr. Trappe identified it as a very young Geastrum.

Created: 2009-10-10 21:46:40 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2009-10-10 21:46:40 CDT (-0500)
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