During our walk in the woods late this afternoon I came across my first Earth Star fungus of the season. I’d never seen them until I started looking where I was going in the woods a few years ago, and when I saw my first one it looked so peculiar and unusual that I thought maybe small aliens had landed and taken root.
They really are the most amazing things. They look like albino tangerines, from which the peel has been… um… peeled back, in 5 little sections. They’re related to puffballs, but vastly more exciting.
The one I saw today had begun to deteriorate, and had I not been familiar with them I’d have walked on, imagining that it was a common puffball. I spotted what remained of the ‘peel’, though, and so stopped for a closer look.
The wee creature was clearly well past its best and so I picked it up. (I generally don’t pick fungi: the poor things have enough to contend with, what with the masses of people who seem to take joy in smashing them into small pieces and leaving them in tears, littering the side of the path.) Fascinatingly, there was a big hollow underneath, and yet again I was sorry that I’d not taken the camera out.
Anyway, I didn’t spot any more on the way back to the car, but I’ll be keeping an eye out now. I love fungi, and the woods are tons more interesting when autumn comes and they begin to rear their beautiful heads.