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
Answer: This is the earth star fungus. See these
web pages for more information: http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/FunFacts/starfact.htm
(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