Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Octopus fungus

OK, all you fungus experts out there, I need your help with identifying an interesting specimen I found in amongst the leaf litter in my garden today...





I have no idea what type of fungus this is, so until somebody can identify it for me, I'm going to call it the Octopus Fungus (Yes, I know octopuses have 8 legs, but...)

The bulbous part in the middle (the octopus's head) is about 3cm across. I think it is full of spores.  The "legs" appear to be an outer casing that has split apart. This fungus seems to have some of the features of a puffball.



If you know what this is, please tell me!

The underside

When I squeezed it a cloud of spores puffed out

13 comments:

  1. It's scary looking, thats what it is..!!!
    Hope someone can help you...lol...

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  2. Ha, funny you should mention it, 3 new additions of mushrooms on my blog today too. That makes... 6 unidentified mushrooms in total... out of 6 documented in total. Simply follow 'mushroom' label to see other mushrooms. Could really do with borrowing your experts Mark.. if you have any!!!! :D

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  3. It's an Earthstar. If you post these photos at Ispot (http://ispot.org.uk/) I'm sure someone will be able to tell you precisely which one.

    Beautiful, isn't it?

    Esther

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  4. You're right Esther, it is an Earthstar. Thanks. Now that you have given me the name, I have "googled it" and found lots of images of similar fungi. I've never consciously heard of this fungus before, and certainly never seen one.

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  5. You're not thinking of eating it, are you Mark?

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  6. Linda, I'm ALWAYS on the lookout for good things to eat, but I don't think this one looks particularly appetising, and I have established that whilst not poisonous, the Earthstar is "indigestible" so I shall avoid it.

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  7. wow! very strange and octopussy indeed. No idea what it is tho. Is always funny to see the fungi growing, they are not there and suddenly is all full the next day, even in the little pots.

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  8. Mark! Destroy it! I think it is an alien! I had some fungal thing growing on my mulched path yesterday. It looked like a patch of bright yellow vomit. Maybe you alien landed here first.

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  9. That thing certainly has a strange appearance!

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  10. One thing all this damp miserable stuff is good for and it's moulds and fungi!

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  11. What a fun find for the New Year! I love this time of year. There's not much going on in the gardens, but the fungi seem to run amok! I've never seen an Earth Star in person though...I'm quite jealous!

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  12. We have its cousin in California.

    http://howsrobb.blogspot.com/2011/07/exploding-stars.html

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