Earthstars are in the division Basidiomycota, the same group of fungi as the common mushrooms. An earthstar is unusual because it opens up when wet, revealing the puffball-like internal area (carpophore) which is filled with spores. Wet conditions promote spore dispersal and germination. A picked earthstar will close up, with the arms encircling the central carpophore. Several species occur in the River Park, including large and small varieties, as shown. Earthstars are not considered edible because of their consistency.
Text and Photo by Robyn Waayers. Robyn has been a resident of San Diego County since 1977, and is a biology instructor at Palomar, Miramar and Southwestern Colleges, and is also a freelance nature photographer. Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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