Thursday, October 15, 2009
This is the same earthstar (Astraeus pteridis) I drew Saturday. I called it Astraeus hygrometricus but I was wrong. It's 6cm wide and growing, so I think it's more likely to be A. pteridis.
I got clever and put it outside while it rained two days ago and then again today. Late this morning it finally broke open and it stopped raining so I was able to sit outside and draw it. It's not supposed to rain for a while, now. I might try spritzing it to get it to open full out. These fungi are just amazing, I think. It'll open like a star to expose the spore sac (which has already opened) to rain drops, which will fall on the sac and cause the spores to puff out. My favorite part is that it'll push up on the points of the star rays to maximize distribution of the spores. One of my favorite winter sights is an earthstar up on it's tippy toes, trying to send it's spores out into the world.
If you'd like to know more about earthstars check out Tom Volk's article and movie of an earthstar opening up.