Rude little earthstar

Rude Earthstar and a Nut

Everybody went on this hike. Nobody—I’m looking at you, Rocky—got to opt out.

Of course, to make it happen, I had to carry my aging pup out past the first part of the trail. Sometimes this tactic works, other times… Not so much.

Today it worked! And the cats and Rocky and I all set out to find earthstars.

As snow melts away and the weather dries a bit, the hygroscopic earthstars (Astraeus hygrometricus) begin to close their “petals” or “rays.” This makes them very hard to find, but if you know what to look for you can still get lucky. I’ve only been able to find closed earthstars in the past year or two, and I’ve been out here on the mountain with them for eight years now.

Here’s the first one we found, and it’s juuuuust starting to close.

Earthstar closing up
Earthstar closing up

Whereas these two were mostly rolled up and closed for business. One of them might be flipping me the bird, ha.

Two earthstars and a nut
Two earthstars and a nut

And in case you’re wondering, these little fungi don’t have a strong connection to the ground where you might find them. Sometimes a few filaments will be still reaching into the soil, but it’s not at all uncommon to find them entirely unattached. And they will cycle through their opening and closing routines until they have entirely dispersed the spores in the round central sac.

When we got home, Pippi did a weird.

My cat is ridiculous
My cat is ridiculous

Yeah, I was so surprised to see it that I didn’t get my phone focused correctly before she woke up and gave me this “Wut??” expression.

Pippi ridiculous 2
Pippi ridiculous 2

She is a nut.

1 comment on “Rude Earthstar and a Nut

  1. Sherry Siddall

    Earthstars are new to me. Thanks!

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