Plant Answers  >  Questions with Photos Index: Earth Star Fungus
Questions with Photos Index

Question: Attached is a picture of a fungus looking plant that was found growing in a newly tilled garden area. Have you ever seen this before, what is it?

Answer: This is the earth star fungus. See these web pages for more information: http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/FunFacts/starfact.htm and http://www.shelterpub.com/_shelter/lost.html (scroll down to the "earth star barometer" section)

This group of fungi is saprophytic, i.e. it grows on dead organic matter in the soil. Most of the organism is below soil level as mycelium (threads of the fungus). The part in your photograph is the reproductive structure. It is somewhat related to mushrooms. I do not know much about poisonous mushrooms, but I would assume all are poisonous unless you have an expert in this field identify it. It will not harm you when working in the garden. Ignore it and it will soon decompose and disappear.
Mark Black, Plant Pathologist

 


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